“Carmine Crush” by Elizabeth Majerus

Garrett Ray Riggs

When you sew, keep yourself attractive. Put on a clean dress and fresh lipstick. Never sew with a sink full of dirty dishes or beds unmade.            ­­ 

–– The Singer Sewing Manual, circa 1949


I’m standing in the checkout with cough drop
breath and a tube of Carmine Crush, checking out
shoes––the soles, straps, and buckles anchoring my fellow
line standers. Ladies and gentlemen, I am no slouch.

My shoes are in a world
of their own. My love is caffeinated.
My favorite kind of music is sandwiches.
I’m not the captain, I’m just another fan.

What makes you go to therapy?
Night sweats and day mares.
All the dreamy emo boys screaming
in your ears.

I keep a pair of earplugs at the ready.
I prefer to paint in my pajamas
in a bathtub full of dirty dishes.
But I will, I think, keep my lipstick fresh.



Elizabeth Majerus always has a song in her head, for good or for bad. Her poems have been published in Arsenic Lobster, 2River View, Obsession Lit Mag, and other small journals. She lives in Urbana, Illinois, with her family and is one-third of the band Motes.


Garrett Ray Riggs is a writer and illustrator who lives in Florida with his family and a herd of cats. His work has appeared in Mary: A Journal of New Writing, Quail Bell Magazine, Bright Lights Film Journal, Tampa Review, and Cineaste Magazine.