︎︎︎ Nicola Maye Goldberg

︎ APR 7, 2022

When Anna Kavan died in 1968, the police found in her apartment fifty tubes of red lipstick and “enough heroin to kill the whole street.” To the police, the lipsticks might have looked the same, and Kavan’s collection might have seemed like another pathology, a particularly and pathetically feminine one. I doubt, though, that they were identical. I’m sure some shimmered and others glowed, that some were slightly pink and others vaguely blue. I suspect that she purchased, or perhaps stole them, with some deliberation, and that she wore them even on days she knew she would not leave her flat. It’s hard to put on lipstick when your hands shake, but it’s not impossible. You can dab at your mouth with a tissue. It’s like tending a little wound.

Nicola Maye Goldberg
is the author of the novel NOTHING CAN HURT YOU (Bloomsbury, 2020). Her work has appeared in Vogue, New York Tyrant, The Drunken Canal, Forever Magazine, and elsewhere. She lives in New York City. @nicolamayeg