Night Vision

January 3, 2019

The girl fits her body in
to the space between the bed
and the wall. she is a stalk,
exhausted. she will do some
thing with this. she will
surround these bones with flesh,
she will cultivate night vision.
she will train her tongue
to lie still in her mouth and listen.
the girl slips into sleep.
her dream is red and raging.
she will remember
to build something human with it.

Lucille Clifton

There is a girl inside

October 14, 2018

There is a girl inside.
She is randy as a wolf.
She will not walk away and leave these bones
to an old woman.
She is a green tree in a forest of kindling.
She is a green girl in a used poet.
She has waited patient as a nun
for the second coming,
when she can break through gray hairs
into blossom
and her lovers will harvest
honey and thyme
and the woods will be wild
with the damn wonder of it.

Lucille Clifton

Blessing the Boats

May 22, 2018

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear

may you kiss
the wind then turn from it

certain that it will
love your back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

Lucille Clifton

To a Dark Moses

October 1, 2016


you are the one
i am lit for.
Come with your rod
that twists
and is a serpent.
i am the bush.
i am burning
i am not consumed.

Lucille Clifton


March 15, 2016


cruelty. don’t talk to me about cruelty
or what i am capable of.

when i wanted the roaches dead i wanted them dead
and i killed them. i took a broom to their country

and smashed and sliced without warning
without stopping and i smiled all the time i was doing it.

it was a holocaust of roaches, bodies,
parts of bodies, red all over the ground.

i didn’t ask their names.
they had no names worth knowing.

Lucille Clifton

To a Dark Moses

December 12, 2015


you are the one
i am lit for.
Come with your rod
that twists
and is a serpent.
i am the bush.
i am burning
i am not consumed.

Lucille Clifton

wishes for sons

August 15, 2015


i wish them cramps.
i wish them a strange town
and the last tampon.
I wish them no 7-11.

i wish them one week early
and wearing a white skirt.
i wish them one week late.

later i wish them hot flashes
and clots like you
wouldn’t believe. let the
flashes come when they
meet someone special.
let the clots come
when they want to.

let them think they have accepted
arrogance in the universe,
then bring them to gynecologists
not unlike themselves.

Lucille Clifton

(Lucille Clifton’s Poetry collections include:
Good Times New York: Random House, 1969
Good News About the Earth New York: Random House, 1972
An Ordinary Woman New York: Random House, 1974)
Two-Headed Woman University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, 1980
Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir: 1969–1980 Brockport: BOA Editions, 1987
Next: New Poems Brockport: BOA Editions, Ltd., 1987
Ten Oxherding Pictures Santa Cruz: Moving Parts Press, 1988
Quilting: Poems 1987–1990 Brockport: BOA Editions, Ltd., 1991
The Book of Light Port Townsend: Copper Canyon Press, 1993
The Terrible Stories Brockport: BOA Editions, 1996
Blessing The Boats: New and Collected Poems 1988–2000, Rochester: BOA Editions, 2000; Paw Prints, 2008
Mercy Rochester: BOA Editions, 2004
Voices Rochester: BOA Editions).