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Slicker

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came in a pink,
orange and white
striped metal tube,
with a black curlicue
border and a splayed
gold base.   It came
in any number of
mod shades: Nippy
Beige, Chelsea Pink,
Poppycock, Hot Nec-
taringo, Pinkadilly,
Dicey Peach.   There
were several tubes in
my mother’s makeup
drawer in the bath-
room five out of six
of us used (my father
had his own bathroom,
as forbidden as the
walk-in closet where
his Playboys were
hidden under a stack
of sweaters on the top
shelf).   All the girls
at school had Slicker
in their purses; I
watched them apply
The London Look
at the beginning and
end of each class.   I
marveled at what else
spilled out: compact,
mascara brush, eye
shadow, wallet, troll
doll, dyed rabbit’s
foot, chewing gum,
tampon, pink plastic
comb.   At home I
stared at myself in
the medicine cabinet
mirror and, as my
brother pounded
on the locked bath-
room door, twisted
a tube and rubbed,
ever so slightly,
Slicker on my lips.

David Trinidad, "Slicker" from The Late Show (New York: Turtle Point Press, 2007). Copyright by David Trinidad. Reprinted with permission of the author.
Source: The Late Show (Turtle Point Press, 2007)
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Slicker

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