Thirty-nine cartridges of rapturously hued lipstick stacked the bottom shelf of the medicine cabinet, secured by safety-capped brown cylinders of Xanax, Zoloft and Ambien, an aquamarine bottle of Cool Mint Listerine and two reels of dental floss, unwaxed. She swooped through her New England clam chowder-- clotted, creamy and pepper-crusted-- in rhythmic, efficient loops. A yellow cab clawed to a halt beckoned by the incarnadine fingertip of the tall, shouldery ash blonde with a slung brown bag, patent leather stilettos and seamed black stockings.The doctor said, we’ll do all we can, and glanced at the far wall in wan affirmation of his credentials.
One morning, she gaped at the ragged swatches of hair on her pillow then raked her head with trembling nail-bitten fingers.
A lank young man in a fuchia Hawaiian shirt, insane with bougainvillea and hibiscus, shepherds the wheelchair down Gay Street, the rider, chin in hand, staring, still.
North American Open Poetry Contest, Second Prize, 1994