• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 04
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Moisture Renew, Lasting Finish

When he was a boy, it was
only his mother who wore lipstick.
Primed in front of her bedroom vanity,
he watched her take her time and
plump her mouth with colour,
bringing her face into contrast
against the hard lines of his father.
Reds the colour of the neighbour’s front door
and the special Sunday-only napkins,
they served to Aunt Jean and Uncle Roger.
Things changed, and then his sister
lifted bubblegum or sunburst
flavoured oranges and scarlets
and purple lipsticks from
department stores, hiding them under
school cardigans and inside
the heel of her stripey tube socks.
She sprawled them across her bedroom floor,
tumbling from her clothes,
like illicit whispers, neglected without noise.
Things changed even more –
sometimes he wonders,
beyond this universe,
and into the next
– so when he buys lipstick he prefers the subtle
tones of dusky rose for winter days when he’s
working inside, reflecting on views, and
the ideas it brings him. And
bright fiesta reds,
when he wants to celebrate and explode
into joy, wants to feel like
the body he vehicles himself inside,
is not a cage,
but an instrument of transformation.