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Friday, October 16, 2009

Pucker up

Local poet Terri Erickson (born in Winston, now living in Lewisville) sent me the most marvelous poem from her recently published collection, Telling Tales of Dusk. It's about her Great-Aunt Ethel, a "quintessential Southern Belle" who "wore a full face of makeup until her dying day" at age 96.

Although the poem doesn't mention lipstick, it mentions rouge and kisses, and so it reminded me very much of dear MPB (who turned slightly less than 96 yesterday) reaching into her grandmother's coffin to apply lipstick. A poem, a makeup application - both acts of love.

Queen’s Court
by Terri Kirby Erickson
(Excerpt from Telling Tales of Dusk, Press 53, with permission of author)


Swathed in scarves and rouged
up to her earlobes,
Ethel sat fiddling with double
ropes of pearls,

her fingers worrying those beads
with near-prayerful

reverence. “Doll baby,”
she said to my brother, “give
Aunt Ethel some sugar,”

which he did, while I sat across
the room wondering

why mamas made over boys
like they were something special,
when it was clear
as wedding bells that women

ruled the cosmos like a coterie
of cotillion-christened queens.
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