My Grandmother’s Lipstick

‘The colonial tongue fell like brimstone
rebukes on the inflected shingles of our roofs,
and freedom was the secret language for
we who refused to genuflect.

At the plangent dusk, with the horizon
soaked in blood, we pronounced their
steely consonants as they smiled in the
aftermath of conquest, but with a cup
that held the fire of the unexpressed,
I sealed my lips in scarlet.’