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Cyclops' Eyes

Donald Illich

The plain-looking people can't
shop in the exciting part of town.

They bum everyone out.
Their noses aren't ugly enough

to be interesting, which turns into
beauty when the dollar falls out

of love with overworked perfection.
Each scar and mole is arranged

so figure-less constellations dull
their faces. Skinny legs and arms,

bloated bodies, offend salesclerks,
who shoo untouchables away,

call security guards in unmarked
vans to pick them up, deposit losers

in suburban homes. When the plain
look in a mirror they believe they're

gorgeous. No one perms like them,
works out in the basement as hard.

They could be in a heavy metal band
or reality show, fight for millions,

talented enough to beat anyone.
They're not the truly ugly, who live

in towns far away, wiping pimply
brows, fingering vacant tooth sockets,

or the uglier still, who volunteer
to sweep homeless shelters with

prehensile tails, see through everyone
with Cyclops' eyes that penetrate life

to its atoms, arranged in a perfect
order that couldn't be any other way.

Donald Illich

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