RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – July 20

July 21, 2016

John Barrale

I remember the bittersweet smell
of my mother’s lipstick
melting in its gold cartridge
when we went to Coney Island,

and how the glossy burst of sun was like a poster
when we walked out of the subway station—

and how, riding home, I slept
in her suntan-oiled arms,

and the smell of the sea,
so old and fertile,
rose like a ghost
from the sand-wet bottom of my pail,

and how after she died,
the lonely cigarette and onion sweat
of my father
would wake me
for school in the morning.

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