chapstick

she picks the dry skin off her lips and flicks it on the floor
bites her bottom lip with her top teeth
chews the inside of her cheek with her molars
rubs her lips together over and over again
and then she puts on some chapstick
the one that comes in the black tube
without any real flavor to speak of.
she buys them in packs of ten or twelve
and stashes them four or five at a time in her purse
her beside table
her medicine cabinet
her glove compartment
(where they often melt and run all over the operating manual in its plastic sleeve).
she's been known to find them in the refrigerator and in the couch cushions.
once she found a plastic target bag with 33 of them
loose
hidden in the back of the linen closet
behind the extra set of sheets
the ugly ones she never used but kept for linen emergencies
whatever those might be.
don't get me wrong:
we are talking about a powerful woman
in the world.
she negotiates mergers
she picks up the check
she silences board rooms
brilliant
meticulous
in control.
but chapstick
she cannot be without chapstick
chapstick gets the best of her.