I feel a particular kind of pity for

people who are almost beautiful.

You must have met such miss-outs – the woman who

could have been Helen, but her Attic nose


is a smidge too small, or bum just too big; the poor

jackass whose jaw, chiselled and masterful,

would qualify him for the Happy Few

if his steadfast eyes weren’t that tiny bit too close.


But maybe saddest of all are those whose looks

tick every single Cosmo box, and yet

the sum of their perfect parts is unbeddably bland –


Homer wouldn’t have had them in his books

although (because?) they’d never have been a threat

to Ilium’s topless towers, which might still stand.

Published in HQ 50