Because my mother loved lipstick,
I liven up when applying the sheerest rose colour.
But unpredictably, deep scarlet makes me sad.
Her smooth voice is always near;
with clarity I watch the clock’s hands move quickly.
I go to the cosmetic counter to look for the new
summer colours and a salesgirl asks if she can help.
I kiss a subtle mauve on my lips; I buy a clear lip
My mother never wore lip gloss. She only wore vibrant shades.
I buy a new lipstick every month; line them up on my vanity,
an unsatisfied obsession.
While living in New York she had a Siamese cat named Kimmy,
who sat on the sofa with her most evenings.
My mother died in September 2004, leaving me
a box of brooches encrusted with faux jewels, but no lipstick.
Nearly nine years later, I can still see her rouged lips.
From my purse I take out a compact mirror and apply a garnet
tone; I put on my strappy shoes, grab my sweater.
While walking out the door I remember my mother
telling me lipstick makes a girl feel pretty.