Wax Lips

By Cynthia Rylant Cynthia Rylant
Todd’s Hardware was dust and a monkey—
a real one, on the second floor—
and Mrs. Todd there behind the glass cases.
We stepped over buckets of nails and lawnmowers
to get to the candy counter in the back,
and pointed at the red wax lips,
and Mary Janes,
and straws full of purple sugar.
Said goodbye to Mrs. Todd, she white-faced and silent,
and walked the streets of Beaver,
our teeth sunk hard in the wax,
and big red lips worth kissing.

"Wax Lips" by Cynthia Rylant from Waiting to Waltz. Copyright © 2001 by Cynthia Rylant. Reprinted with permission of the author, whose most recent book of poetry is Ludie’s Life, Harcourt, 2006.

Source: Waiting to Waltz (Atheneum Publishers, 2001)

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Poet Cynthia Rylant

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Coming of Age, Living, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Youth

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Metaphor

  Cynthia  Rylant


Cynthia Rylant is the author of Waiting to Waltz (2001) and Ludle's Life (2006). Her poetry has been published in former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser's column, "American Life in Poetry." She lives in Oregon.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Coming of Age, Living, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Youth

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Metaphor

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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