Melisande’s Lipstick



© Loren Niemi

Melisande Charles on 84 th Birthday, photo by Loren Niemi.

After she had the last top tooth pulled…
(For reasons not worth going into)
She said she was excited to get dentures
Not for the eating but for the lipstick
They could again be framed by.

Forget the possibility of a red smear on white,
The teeth give the lips volume and
Oh, the lipstick – always red – candy
Apple red, fire truck red, stop sign red,
Blood red, even a bruised plum red

Leaning towards purple from a distance,
Red lips marking the edge of that
Smile so iconic in so many photographs,
Put aside for the moment the
Necessity of toothlessness as

Her recovery stalls another day.
If Death is to come it will be
Met with a red bow, with the kind
Of kiss that one reserves for a long
Absent and too late arriving

Friend come at last and welcomed.
Melisande will not be daunted by this
Third cancer or celebrating her 86th
Year in hospital suite while
Looking for the just right red gloss.

Loren Niemi is an innovative storyteller, performance coach and author of poetry and storytelling texts. [email protected]

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