Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Ugliness by Joe Cottonwood

Cold day in a cool city
she walks without shoes
down Telegraph Hill.
Stops at a shattered
bottle outside Cafe
Trieste. Stoops, plucks
with delicate fingers
green spits of glass. Drops
them into a white paper bag.

People stop, stare. Maybe
mental? She’s unconcerned,
gathering glass, barefoot in a
wool dress, legs unshaved.
Pimples cluster, spatter
her face. A body heavy,
not stylish. A smile
of inner peace.

Three young men
pause, snicker.
“Hey!” one shouts.
“Don’t you know you’re ugly?”
They laugh. She’s
humming, gathering
broken glass.

Joe Cottonwood has built or repaired hundreds of houses to support his writing habit. His latest book is Foggy Dog: Poems of the Pacific Coast. He’s a pretty good carpenter and a crackerjack grandfather in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.

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