These Kids Today

They obsess over lip balm and carry it everywhere
in screw-top plastic pots that fit in their pockets.
Their mother whips up batches of the stuff
from melted beeswax, keeps a constant supply
in an air-tight container in the kitchen cupboard
so it’s always available for refills.
The kids panic if their lips feel dry.
Replenishing moisture takes precedence,
and no activity is too important to interrupt.
They apply the ointment generously
with practiced fingertips. Their mouths gleam
as if they’ve been eating fried chicken
without napkins, unblended flecks of wax
at the corners of their young lips
beautifully supple and smooth.


Nudge: Write about something kids today do that you wouldn’t have even thought about when you were young. Their access to technology is easy to compare and contrast; try to zero in on habits or cultural obsessions that seem unique to today’s kids. You don’t have to criticize—feel free to pick some activity or interest you admire or even envy.

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