SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

ChapStick by Karen J. Weyant

Little girls in small towns love

their ChapStick: vanilla bean,

coca cola, root beer. They dig

in their mothers’ purses,

fingering loose pennies

and half sticks of bubble gum,

searching for the elusive lip balm.

They beg for extra money

in store check-out lines, longing

for flavors that taunt them

from the shelves.

They know the smooth wax soothes

split lips parched in the dead

of winter-dry months.

They watch their mothers

rub lotion through the pinched

lines around their eyes, favorite

aunts smooth oil on their torn

cuticles. Even their older sisters

dot snags in their nylons

with clear fingernail polish.

These girls already believe in salves

for all the raw wounds women

around them are forced to wear:

rough elbows and heels, paper cuts,

deep scrapes that never healed, but

turned to scabs, and then scars.

Karen J. Weyant's poetry has been published in Arsenic Lobster, Cave Wall, Cold Mountain Review, Copper Nickel, Poetry East, Rattle, River Styx, Tahoma Literary Review, and Whiskey Island. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Stealing Dust(Finishing Line Press, 2009) and Wearing Heels in the Rust Belt (Winner of Main Street Rag's 2011 Chapbook Contest). She teaches at Jamestown Community College in Jamestown, New York. When she is not teaching, she explores the rural Rust Belt of northern Pennsylvania and western New York. 

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