The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Kelly Boyker’s “The Child Cyclops”

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 5.32.15 PM


The Child Cyclops
The famous child of Tourcoing, France, was born with only one eye located in the
center of her forehead. She was perfectly normal in every other way, and lived to
the age of fifteen. –
Robert Ripley, 1929

At first it was easy
hiding the child from the light,
lying in her bassinet,
her one eye tracking a mobile
of Hydra, Griffin, Hippogriff, Roc,
her laughter only detectable by creatures
thick with impossible claws.

But as she grew and wandered the village
the whispers became a swallowed nosebleed,
thickening in her throat as pudding skin.

She beseeched the sky
which would not be sated
by her flooded head,
by the loathsome eye.

Her single suitor held her
in the darkness of the henhouse,
slipped his hands beneath her bodice
and when the tentacles of his tongue
circled her ears
she admitted everything:
the small fires licking the floorboards,
the rat she accidentally swallowed,
the narrow fissures between the monoliths,
and that she was perhaps not a fully mortal girl. 

In the end there was no real confession,
only her mouth like an entry wound
ringed with infection,
the tiny taking teeth, the rotten hooves, 

and her single eye
unmaking even as the stones commenced,
adding and subtracting.


“The Child Cyclops” appeared in Kelly Boyker’s book, Zoonosis, available from Hyacinth Girl Press. Purchase yours today!

Kelly Boyker’s work has appeared in many places, including, but not limited to, PANK, Prick of the Spindle, Arsenic Lobster, Opium Magazine and FRiGG. Her work has been Pushcart nominated and won the Richard Hugo House Power of Place Annual Inquiry. Recently, she was honored to participate in the Fainting Couch Idioglossia collaborative anthology from Blood Pudding Press. When she is not at her mortgage-paying job she acts as as the poetry editor of Menacing Hedge. She lives in Seattle with four cats, one dog and her wonderful husband, Gio.

This week’s Wardrobe Best Dressed was selected Nicole Oquendo. Nicole Oquendo is an Assistant Editor for Sundress Publications, and the Nonfiction Editor of Best of the Net. Her most recently published essays and poetry can be found in DIAGRAM, fillingStation, Storm Cellar, and Truck.

Leave a Reply