Guest Poet Hannah Sassaman


Today I bought a new lipstick, to replace
the one I lost backstage at your choir concert.
The old one was in a purple case, banded

with plastic gold. The cover clicked on and off
with a satisfying tug. It was frosted mocha
brown.  Revlon. They don't make it anymore.

It fit perfectly into the leftover space
of my favorite purse. It matched all of my
other colors. However, I had to bring

your REQUIEM score backstage, to your
dressing room, where you screeched your thanks,
angry and sarcastic in that captivating tenor.

This new one is too dark of a brown.
It looked all right in storelight, but
here in day it washes out my eyes.  The cover

doesn't click at all, but hangs loosely about
the shaft of the stick like a dirty, worn sock,
or a pair of stretched boxers.  Or a used condom.

March, 1998

Hannah Sassaman's Questions:

I'm not exactly sure how to format this poem.  I've chosen the three line stanzas pretty much arbitrarily. What kind of form might best emphasize the emotional undertone I'm trying to express?
I would also appreciate any other comments about this work.

Correspond with Hannah Sassaman at
with your ideas about this poem.

The Albany Poetry Workshop