Benjamin Cutler

How Mom Quit Saying Shit
by Benjamin Cutler

She started by dropping the i
and stretching the hiss
which she would halt with a punch
of tongue to teeth for a hard t.

I swear,
it sounded just
like the flight of arrows
in those old westerns
Dad would watch:
feather, shaft, and flint
leather, bark, or bone.
But Mom would turn her head
to the side and down
to release it harmlessly
to the ground.
After so many battles won
or lost—really, who can tell
the difference in the war
of loving and raising?—

she lost the t, too:
breath through teeth became
the wind through trees,
just the hush after shots fired—

her quiver empty.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 4.

Benjamin CutlerBenjamin Cutler was raised on a riverbank in the mountains of western North Carolina. He is a graduate of Western Carolina University and currently teaches English and creative writing at Swain County High School. In conjunction with his work as an English teacher, Benjamin is an ambassador for the global educational non-profit Narrative 4, an organization led by writers, artists, and educators that seeks to cultivate empathy through the exchanging of personal narratives. As a poet, Benjamin was recently selected for the North Carolina Poetry Society’s 2017 Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series.

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