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About this Poem 

“Her Lips Are Copper Wire” was published in Cane (Boni and Liveright, 1923).

Her Lips Are Copper Wire

whisper of yellow globes
gleaming on lamp-posts that sway
like bootleg licker drinkers in the fog
 
and let your breath be moist against me
like bright beads on yellow globes
 
telephone the power-house
that the main wires are insulate
 
(her words play softly up and down
dewy corridors of billboards)
 
then with your tongue remove the tape
and press your lips to mine
till they are incandescent

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on January 26, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on January 26, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

Jean Toomer

Jean Toomer

Born in 1894, Jean Toomer is the author of Cane, a book of prose and poetry describing the people and landscape of Georgia.

by this poet

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Hairbraided chestnut,
     coiled like a lyncher's rope,
Eyes
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I am a reaper whose muscles set at sundown. All my oats are
        cradled. 
But I am too chilled, and too fatigued to bind them. And I
        hunger. 
 
I crack a grain between my teeth. I do not taste it. 
I have been in the fields all day. My throat
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Boll-weevil’s coming, and the winter’s cold, 
Made cotton-stalks looks rusty, seasons old, 
And cotton, scarce as any southern snow, 
Was vanishing; the branch, so pinched and slow,
Failed in its function as the autumn rake; 
Drouth fighting soil had caused the