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padPhotograph by Tom Haynes:

Dear Starkness, my old friend,

You weren’t so desperate when we first met. Your body was pregnant with the possibility of adventure. All I had to do was think and you came to life. So eager were you to expose the markings of my ink that I turned red. Now when I try, everything comes out stale. You ruined it. You made me your everything just so you could stare blankly into space while I tried. And I tried so hard.

– a crimson pen

Lip Gloss


I saw her mouth as a vicious knife. Slick and skinny with a biting quality that lingers. She could be cutting. Words flew from her with a force greater than God. She had that much power.

I was sitting in the back shelf of a makeup counter when I first saw her mouth move. She had just told her daughter off. Is that makeup you’re wearing? – you look like a floozy. I felt my body ache as the daughter picked me up and stuffed me, crammed me, into her pocket.

Hidden from the light, I will forever remain her dirty little secret.