Voices

March 11, 2007|By Ted Kooser | Ted Kooser,Special to the Sun

Those big cherry-flavored wax lips that my friends and I used to buy when I was a boy - well, how could I resist this poem by Cynthia Rylant of Oregon?

- Ted Kooser

"Wax Lips"

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.

Ted Kooser was U.S. poet laureate, 2004-06. "Wax Lips" by Cynthia Rylant from "Waiting to Waltz." Reprinted by permission of the author. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

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