Her ankles always turned slightly blue in early summer

she didn’t know what bunions were

the brash Canadian with wide mouth and platinum hair

smiled benevolently in the pricy shoe store

buying 4 pairs herself, she pointed to the red suede sandals

on her feet; reduced 75% off, her kind of price

“that straight strap will inflame your bunions more”

she waved at a protrusion on her big toe, knowledgeably

“and rub your hammer toe too”

the crestfallen 4th toe that felt calcified

she couldn’t ask her mother about these things

sandals suddenly seemed ugly on her broken digits

funny not to notice before, now lit in flashing neon

how could I have been so stupid? Should I stop wearing

strapless bras too? What other faux-pas exists that I’m

blissfully unawares of?

Flaws can get by without detection for decades

ignorance is bliss

it helps her understand now, when young women

get Labiaplastys because unwittingly they’re

subject to pornography’s depictions of

how their genitals should look. She wonders

if she had been born in this hot digital oven of comparison

and scrutiny, whether she would have purchased

a house in Alaska somewhere and turned everything

including herself, OFF.

It was enough you see; to lose the falsehood beauty of her feet

she doesn’t have the strength to stand under a spotlight

be picked apart for her myriad flaws

it’s hard enough to pretend she’s competent and capable

even on an easier day, she feels like a fraud

where the kid who didn’t like school, has to make good

and work with the kids who did, all grown-up

who paid attention in grammar class and know how

to read out loud without fluffing their lines or

chewing their hair

she was the girl who sat at the back

unable to spell well in any language

wanting to climb out of the window

in a dragon suit and climb buildings

growling. She wanted to eat Monster Munch

in trees with green parrots (she was corrected about that once,

they’re parakeets apparently) watching

Peter Pan look to the skies with

heavy bronze longing and remove

the pain from her soul like a ring from a bull’s

nose, just tossing it away to be pressed

beneath sand by the next approaching


6 Replies to “Ignorance is bliss”

  1. I want to tell her (whisper? shout?) “Do it! Pluck it out! Drop it in the sand! Walk on on feet with their own kind of beauty.

  2. yes. It seems silly but sometimes not knowing you are ‘ugly’ or perceived as, can be freeing and I would wish everyone had that ‘ignorance’ without needing that rude awakening to the judgement of strangers.

  3. me too 😉 I think however, it is scathing for many in a world increasingly consumed with physicality

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