Grandmother’s Lipstick (By Rachel Kaminsky)
She boils an egg (watching).
Light illuminates the stove her black bob (patent leather)
sets a blaze the gold chai ‘round her neck (a camel).
Brighton Beach: breeze bikini bazaar.
Beauties bronze their skin under a blistering bulb.
From the 18th-storey
of a Warbasse building
children are pinky-toenail-size it is good to be a child
the clink of kitten heels against the tile a hard boiled egg served to you
between pillars of salt and pepper.
Once, my father wanted to play detective.
He wrote a message with his mother’s lipstick on her vanity mirror
(I have kidnapped your dog).
She banged his head against the wall
split open (a pea pod) his brow
onto the lapel of his trench coat.
That was the Lower East Side years after
black smoke of a corpse hurried across the sky
unwashed skin of a stranger sleeping beside her
the starved dead stacked like fish
in a wheelbarrow.
Then the British Red Cross their box of lipstick,
piece of humanity in a plastic tube.
In Coney Island my grandmother balances an egg on a platter
walking across a kitchen
with a view of the Wonder Wheel.
(Rachel Kaminsky is a Master’s student in the Department of English with a creative writing concentration.)