Imagine a bird as ungainly as a flying contraption with landing gear
about twice as long as its fuselage. Take that bird and beat it with
the ugly stick till it’s so ugly it has to sneak up on a glass of water.
I’m that bird. You’d have more luck finding a rhyme for orange than
finding a wader uglier than me, meditating on stilts of legs at sunset
in the mouth of an African river among flowers that dwarf hippos.
Yet ugliness is useful. That other two-legged creature, the ruffian
without wings who kills for a reason as light as a feather—one to
adorn, say, the frilly Easter bonnet of his female—didn’t fancy mine.
Ugliness is holy. Ugliness is kismet. Ugliness saved me to be a
hermit, a storky savant musing on the creation like a postman with
a pouch full of letters addressed all higgledy-piggledy by a maniac.
Joe Smith poet
Honoria Starbuck illustration