When I am old, and my breasts
hang against my chest
like empty pockets;
when my irises have turned milky,
and the creases in my face
look like a drawstring bag;
then I’ll wear the reddest lipstick
I can get–the scarlet kind you
find at Woolworth’s for 99 cents.
I’ll be one of those old ladies
whose smeary red lips stand like a tent-pole
in the middle of my face,
holding up the center no matter how
the rest flags in folds around.
I will fly this red banner as if to say:
Look at me!
You, too, will die by the inch
from the outside in:
but if you ever had a night with a man
who really, really likes women,
your memories live in the lips!
They grin long past the time
your joints could hold them up.
These memories live in the mouth,
the old, red mouth
just like the young one,
just like that hidden one,
when the body was glorious!
– from Sharon
Cumberland Greatest Hits 1985-2000
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