Northwords Now Issue 35

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Lipstick

by Caroline Yates

A swipe in teenage years,
tangerine dreams, shell pink, white pearl.  
Mirrored, plump lips kiss glass,
the back of a hand, a sealed envelope.
traced lines impress the clown’s garish gash.
A slap for delving  in my mother’s draw.  

My stepmother wore scarlet geranium.
Coty applied fast and furious,
Clothed in Jaeger, her mouth never still,
she forged a finely chiselled nub,
used to its last creamy smear.
Strength perfumed, powdered and glossed.
Second wife of a vicar.
Aunty Wynn’s lipstick darker,
more rose red. Sliding round her lips,
redefining outer edges, a fairy-tale pout.
Spinster of this parish.

Lips mirror that secret place,
the labia, pink and lush,
juicy, young. Paint them brazen red,
arch brows in dark and careful lines,
rework the magic, resurrect the siren call,
pucker, pout, draw and fill.
Open and close,
a goldfish gasping for air.