By Brenna Croker

Resting his warm face on the glass
He catches sight of his reflection
With pink smudges left across his mouth
By his wife’s favorite lipstick and heavy kisses.


Do you remember burning matchsticks,
lining your lashes with the black charcoal
And pressing flowers to your lips
Until they stained and turned red?


Mother found you in her shoes,
Laughed - it was charming,
But father’s face was tomato red
When he swore and hit you.


He wipes the lipstick away but
It clings with a stubborn pinkness
Only made worse when it melts
By the heat of shame on his cheeks.


The lonely wife steps
Rosy-cheeked and sleepy-smiled
To slink her arms around her husband’s waist
And rest her head against his shoulder.


His face still stings with the slap
His father clapped across his skin
And he sweeps his hands in silence
Across the glass to hide from his reflection.