Four Poems

Camille-Yvette Welsch

The Four Ugliest Children in Christendom Go To The Mall


The four ugliest children in Christendom do not

date, eat in public, gossip, talk on the phone, hang-out.

They breathe with their mouths open, wheezing

the soundtrack of their colossal lack.  When the girl,

a ghost of laddered bones, goes to the make-up counter,

the stylist clutches a compact and wonders,

what am I to emphasize?  She brushes layers

of foundation, trying to rebuild, but Rome

wasn’t built in a day, and the ugliest girl

in Christendom walks away looking beige, a little cracked,

her face a caked pumpkin on the white twig of her neck.


The twins, terrorize the toy store, gleeful

in their ability to repulse.  They lurk around corners

then leap out, startling children once with their faces,

and twice when the masks don’t come off.  Bored,

they play at being machines.  Throats full of whistles,

theirs is a language of grinding.  The oldest boy stands

in a bookshop, reading about religion, trying to understand—  

if we are made in God’s image, what part can we possibly be?



The Ugliest Boy in Christendom Thinks About Asking His Sister to the Prom


I realize that she would stab me

with her crone finger, deflate

me and as I buzzed around the room,

she would watch my humiliation,

as she always does. This isn’t some

stupid sitcom, she’d say, people

don’t attend proms with their siblings.

Then, when I’m deflated on the floor,

she’d haul me out, pierced on her heel

and shake me loose on the lawn.  

I’d just lie there, spent, nothing left

but to degrade, degrade, degrade.



The Ugliest Twins in Christendom


are a hinged gate, swung at the elbow.

They hang from the crook of the other’s

arm, never quite flailing away from each other.

Between them, a field of energy glows.

In the heat of their mouths, the twins

taste sour, metallic, and they can sniff

the air around them and grade

the fear of the average passer-by.

They wait for grade A terror before

they bring the gate of themselves

wide open, screaming, screeching

until their own ears hurt.


The oldest ugliest girl storms onto the porch,

shoes clicking, pace furious.

To quiet them, she pushes the two back

together until they scream into the open

mouth of the other. Thus, the twins

quiet each other, their mouths cocked

as if about to kiss, the breath between them

the most intimate talk they know.



The Ugliest Boy in Christendom Meditates


All that we are is the result of what we have thought.  The mind is everything. What we think we become.



I thought myself ugly,

heard it in every gasp,

saw it in every step

back.  I believed

with my eyes. Now,

I think nothing

and become it,

a river’s mouth,

different at every moment

and think myself

nothing more.

Or everything—

the sum of beauty

and ugly, bone

and long muscle,

action and thought.


is better than something—

no exclusions, only

everything in the river

running by, pulsing

in the same direction.


 About the Writer
Split Lip Magazine

Camille-Yvette Welsch is the author of the chapbook, FULL, and the book reviews editor for Literary Mama. Her work has appeared in Menacing Hedge, Indiana Review, Mid-American Review, The Writer's Chronicle, Calyx, From the Fishouse, Radar Poetry, and other venues. In 2016, she earned a Pushcart nomination and her manuscript, The Four Ugliest Children in Christendom, was a finalist for the 2016 Washington Prize. She teaches at Penn State and lives in central Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.