Sweet Painted Ladies
A child sits at her mother’s fancy dressing table. She dabs thinly-scented cream behind her ears and at the pulse of her wrists, then paints her mouth with fat, greasy lipstick: red, the colour her mother wears when she screws up her face and yells “No!” Pressing her lips to tissue, the little girl is pleased with the mothy mark that they make – or is it, perhaps, like a pair of blood-streaked caterpillars? Downstairs, a familiar scratched record is slapped onto the stereogram: “Take these chains from my heart and let me go”. The child gets down and runs outside to the buddleia bush. There she stands with her ruby pout, pulling the wings from butterflies.
"Sweet Painted Ladies" first appeared in Writing Your Self (ed. Myra Schneider and John Killick, Continuum Press, 2009). Pizzey is Assistant Editor at PURBECK! magazine and appears in the anthology This Line Is Not for Turning: Contemporary British Prose Poetry (ed. Jane Monson, Cinnamon, 2011), among other journals and anthologies in the UK and US. She received her MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University in 2005.