Talking Lipstick

Jasmine Mathews

My grandmother was particular with her lipstick.
She’d take her long delicate fingers,
the hands of a monarch, steady,
and bring to her lips.
She’s gone now but I have the lipstick,
made from brilliant waxes, regal.
Its shade modest,
as if refusing to take the praise
for your beauty,
its pigment so rich it might
feed the poor today, tomorrow
grace the hearts
of millions
bashful pink, it glides like oil on canvas
made for fine art, such as yourself.
Old in fashion, it leaves its trace:
imagine swing dance
and jazz
and Frank Sinatra,
he’s singing,
a whisper,
“You’d be so nice
to come home to.”
Can you hear it?
this talking lipstick,
a master of flattery,
a sycophant,
talk so sweet
it sneaks
the male officer.