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Thursday, March 31, 2011


I have discovered the lipstick prints of my girls' pursed lips around my house, and as bittersweet and monumental as it is, those prints make me smile and realize growth cannot be not be stopped, whether it is the daughter or the mother.

Lips that taste of tears, they say,
are the best for kissing.
~Dorothy Parker


Lip prints forming silent words, ghost
words that make my arms ache to hold you.

Lips painted pink.
Leaning over a bathroom sink, she
stares into an oval reflection; no
more years than a budding teenager.
Chipped fingernails derail a lid
and big eyes gaze at
pink rising from a black lipstick case.
She pushes wind-blown hair from her face
and smears the colored wax and
glycerin on parted lips.
The tip of her tongue tastes vanilla
icing; thoughts examine her stained
satin gloss; fine lines of matted
confidence slip over her defined
lips, yearning to be
grown-up lips of pink, and fire red.

I find faultless lip prints left
abandoned on a bedroom window,
the entertainment cabinet,
a narrow hall mirror, also
discarded school papers--
all used for quick theatrics.
All perfect prints of DNA, all
goodbye kisses to me as I clean.
I imagine whose lips they belong to--
my oldest daughter experimenting,
my youngest daughter mimicking
what a kiss might be.
They press their lips firm against
an obscure surface, a clouded
exhale, a sticky muah, and left behind
is their mark. A signature of sorts,
their picture of what a kiss should say.
Lips pursed, mouth parted, possessing
grooves of identity, each girl growing up.
I leave their majestic blown
kiss for me--their mother.

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