My Mother’s Obelisk Lipstick


Standing at my mother’s vanity
I, girl child with wide eyes

her self transformed nakedly
with knots and tricks towards elegance,

her hair teased to an oblong,
her neck, like Cleopatra’s, lengthened:

I eyed the miniature Obelisk
that cased her red lipstick.

Heir and standard bearer
of beauty, of glamour

from a temple at Luxor
to Place de la Concorde.

I learned in a museum recently
Dior made this emblem of Luxor – y,

raising the everyday with this nifty
piece of glass and tube of wax.

Though the lipstick wore down
and my mother passed on, she’d say,

Let it fly, trip from lip to lip, Beauty,
pass along your open secrets:
blow your kisses widely.


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