Ugly by Warsan Shire

“Your daughter is ugly.
She knows loss intimately,

carries whole cities in her belly.



As a child, relatives wouldn’t hold her.

She was splintered wood and sea water.

They said she reminded them of the war.



On her fifteenth birthday you taught her

how to tie her hair like rope 

and smoke it over burning frankincense.

You made her gargle rosewater

and while she coughed, said

macaanto girls like you shouldn’t smell

of lonely or empty.



You are her mother.

Why did you not warn her,

hold her like a rotting boat

and tell her that men will not love her

if she is covered in continents,

if her teeth are small colonies,

if her stomach is an island

if her thighs are borders?



What man wants to lay down 

and watch the world burn 
in his bedroom? 


Your daughter’s face is a small riot,


her hands are a civil war,

a refugee camp behind each ear,

a body littered with ugly things



but God,
doesn’t she wear

the world well.”

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One thought on “Ugly by Warsan Shire

  1. there is no ugly in the eye of love,
    only the beauty of the completeness of being.
    one cannot lay down in anything
    less than a glorious revolution
    amid a celebration of being.
    man can be a feral lover,
    abandoning convention
    and the shells of normalcy
    for the sheer taste of love,
    for the promise thereof.

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