It comforts me in this tempestuous world that the altar we erected to your lips that crazed night on the wall in San Telmo has earned respect from the toughest crowd: sloganists and graffiti artists and paid political posterers have carefully skirted your lips, awed by their succulence. The building behind crumbles; it’s lovely railings and balconies would collapse — I think — under even a butterfly’s weight. Neglect has wrestled ornaments and color from those walls. Posters of the political passions of the moment are wheat-pasted one upon the other, a crusty sandwich of forgotten saviors.

But your lips remain, unblemished and conjuring. Those whimsical protrusions that ripple your surface have outlived all the lesser passions. Late-night walkers, chasing their skittish dreams, instead find you.

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