Crayon Lips

February 17, 2011

One morning as Michael Heidegger (not
that Heidegger, Michael) bent down
to study the bright crayon lips a child
had drawn, bright as red, on the concrete steps,
he noticed an envelope wedged tight against
the curb which was something he’d dreamt
about the night before. In the dream there
had been eleven hundred dollars in
the envelope. The street had been empty.
The money smelled of peppermint.
Michael remembered the deep joy
of virgin peppermint. He remembered
his grandfather’s peppermint garden and
the mint juleps and the old woman they
called Auntie Toffel, how she scolded them
and fussed when they wouldn’t come in
to eat her sauerbraten and kartoffel klosse.
Michael had been eleven then. The adults
had been outside getting gently potted.
A julep for your red, red lips, they’d said.
Auntie Toffel, come out and dance for us.
They loved her dearly. She had never danced
a step in all her life. Her lips had never tasted alcohol.
Michael sits on the steps outside his apartment.
One morning soon his lips will look like flowers too.


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