you must wear it like she wears disappointment on her face
you must hide the surprise of tasting other men on your lips
your mother is a woman and women like her cannot be contained.
you find the black tube inside her beauty case, where she keeps
your father’s old prison letters,
you desperately want to look like her
film star beauty, you hold your hand against your throat
your mother was most beautiful when sprawled out on the floor
half naked and bleeding.
you go to the bathroom to apply the lipstick,
somewhere no one can find you
your teeth look brittle against the deep red slickness
you smile like an infant, your mouth is a wound
you look nothing like your mother
you look everything like your mother.
you call your ex boyfriend, sit on the toilet seat and listen to
the phone ring, when he picks up you say his name slow
he says i thought i told you to stop calling me
you lick your lips, you taste like years of being alone.