I Wash the ChapStick

Joseph Lezza

I wash the ChapStick.
I send it through the dryer.
Chapped, I am left with stick.
Waxy, peppermint shirts and pants,
a fistful of Tide Pods and I resolve
to stop making the same mistake.
Early January and people are counting
miles, counting steps. I’m counting
dozens of hollow plastic shells and
my lips are shot to shit.

Throbbing under drug store lights,
I stock up on ammo, clutching
a Balm Blister Box and wondering
how many members
of the Burt’s Bees dynasty
I’ve put through college.

A plan is formed:
a stick in every location,
a stick for every occasion.
One stick, two stick,
lost stick, new stick.
And, for weeks I am streakless.
I am green apple glossed,
suppled and pinked.

But, days roll on until
car stick is stuck
between cushions. Knapsack
stick is lost to the void. So,
desk stick becomes pocket stick,
becomes coffee table stick
becomes vanity stick
becomes sick stick
becomes flu stick
becomes sweatpants stick
becomes laundry stick
becomes hamper stick.

I wash the ChapStick.

Joseph Lezza is a writer in New York, NY. Holding an MFA in creative writing from The University of Texas at El Paso, his work has been featured in, among others, The Hopper, Stoneboat Literary Journal, Still: The Journal, West Trade Review, and Santa Fe Writers Project. His debut memoir in essays, I’m Never Fine, is due out February 2023 from Vine Leaves Press. When he’s not writing, he spends his time worrying about why he’s not writing. His website is http://www.josephlezza.com and you can find him on the socials @lezzdoothis.

© Variant Literature Inc 2021