Gnashing Teeth Publishing

| words that get in your teeth

The Ugly, the Snot, and the Woman by Tyler Hurula

female with bright prink hair wearing a black leather jacket and jeans in front of a graffitied wall

My dad tells my mom she is ugly
when she cries. That some people are beautiful
when they are undone, but she is not
one of them. Spider-eyed, veins w e b b i n g,
cheeks bloom more thorn
than rouge. He tells her this after his fist kissed
plaster, wall ground to fine powder. After wooden
spoons, shattered angels. After children ragdolled
against the wall. After the couch is returned,
upright again, and we are sitting straight
backed with tight lips while he whispers a ghost
apology.

Later, I learn cops will often arrest
the victim because by the time they arrive
what is left is the hysterics
of a woman before the bruise.
They see the ugly, the snot, the woman
pleading as she tries to describe what happened
and he is sitting
at a respectable distance. Pious.
He lets the mess of her blubbering face scream
for itself. Now every time I cry I wonder,
am I pretty enough
to believe?

Tyler Hurula (she/they) is the pinkest poet and explorer based in Denver, Colorado. She strives to be the most queer and polyamorous person they can be and much of her poetry reflects these themes. Author of chapbook Love Me Louder (Querencia Press). Their poems can be found in publications including Anti-Heroin Chic, South Broadway Press, Boats Against the Current, Gnashing Teeth Publishing, and more. They have been nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart Prizes. She is the assistant editor and events coordinator with Beyond the Veil Press. You can find her on Instagram @theprettypinkpoet.

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