Burke’s Handbook on Beauty

by Annette C. Boehm

First, be small. A greenfly,
the tip of a finger, a hypodermic needle.
Be smooth. Sealskin, a lisp, a slip,
the freshly ­waxed hood of a cop car.

Have variety in your parts.
Slingshots, hedgehogs, shoulder blades.
Not angular, but melted into each other.
Knuckles, sporks, a tapered mohawk.

Be delicate, with no appearance of strength.
Stonewash your birthmarks. Sand off
your animal hair. Keep the tones clear and light.
Pastel scrubs, powdered latex gloves,

if the colour is glaring, diversify it.
Old ladies’ curls. Correctly pinched cheeks.
Lauper your elf owl eyes.


Annette C. Boehm is a Ph.D. candidate at the Center for Writers of the University of Southern Mississippi. Her chapbook “the five parts of love: confabulating sappho” is available from Dancing Girl Press. She’s originally from Germany.

1 Comment

Filed under Poetry

One response to “Burke’s Handbook on Beauty

  1. Pingback: Poems Published Online | Annette C. Boehm

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