[Rebecca’s challenge for us today was simple: write about something gross, disgusting or ugly.]

In my childhood disgusting was
Oh gross oh yuck barf pee-yew
Piles of dog shit on the sidewalk
Before dogs were pampered pets
Fed zoned grain free diets
Back when dogs ate left-overs and garbage
Caught birds and squirrels
Nutria and groundhogs
And the smell of their shit burned
Made my stomach clench
Filled my mouth with almost vomit

Gross back then was moist
Almost shit-looking clumps of chew
Spit out on the sidewalk
With still a sweetish tobacco smell
Resurrecting memories of my grandfather
From ugliness on the sidewalk

You could never look away
Never pretend it wasn’t there
Because if you looked away
You might step in it
And then there was the worse ugliness
On your shoe
And the even worse ugliness
When your dad found out about it

Still, I wonder,
Maybe it is just the softening
Effects of age and distance
But now that seems less ugly, less fearsome
Than the ugliness of her dementia
Dirty, stringy hair
The smell that makes me feel guilty
As I blow good-bye kisses from across the room
Her “toilet explosions” and doing her laundry
Separately, hot water, bleach and still

Now the ugliness I struggle with is
My disgust at my own revulsion
Apparently, obviously, sadly
God did not make me of the same stuff
As Sienna’s Catherine or Calcutta’s Teresa

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