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Lip Balm

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I hope she still hasn't forgotten
how adorable she is,
even though it's been hella a long time
since he last looked her in the eye,
held her face in his hands
and brushed his lips across hers
before breathing out his broken promises,
like the way he breathed out the
secondhand smoke in his lungs that
he had been trying to get rid of.

Between her booze-stained teeth and
peeled crimson lips is often
where she holds the ancient grudges
and puffs of smoke that always seem
as heavy as the anchor weighing her
deep down
in the ocean
of
unspoken sorrow and
forgotten
pain.

The way she always finishes a cigarette completely
says so much about how it annoys her to
handle unfinished business in her life.
But the life she has made belief for -
the one that he had crossed his heart, hoping
to give her, is one
BIG IRONY:
the adventure of two is never finished toge-
ther.
She says he is toxic like cigarettes.
Each puff she inhales, she imagines
taking
him
all
in,
breath
by
breath.
She has learned that,
that, is the closest they'll ever be;
that, is the safest distance for love.

Last Christmas, the cold weather has
peeled off the skins of her lips
layer
by
layer,
as if the way he peeled off her skin
with his

knife-like tongue,
exposing her empty-chested torso.

There is no remedy for a ripped-off
heart,
but there is cure for dry lips.
This year, before she kisses a better stranger,
she'll remember to replace
the cigarette
she holds between her moist lips
with words of love,
and she'll be reminded of
how adorable she still is.



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