Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lucille Clifton . . . a heaven . . . "here rests"

*(See below)
There is nothing I need to say about this poem except that it must read.  Every poet is clever, but harnessing the quick impulse so a reader's taken aback with storm speed; moved ahead with compassion.  That's Lucille Clifton's genius.


here rests

my sister Josephine
born july in '29
and dead these 15 years
who carried a book
on every stroll.
when daddy was dying
she left the streets
and moved back home
to tend him.
her pimp came too
her Diamond Dick
and they would take turns
a bible aloud through the house.
when you poem this
and you will   she would say
remember the Book of Job.
happy birthday and hope
to you Josephine
one of the easts
most wanted.
may heaven be filled
with literate men
may they bed you
with respect.
by Lucille Clifton, from Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton. Copyright © 1991. BOA Editions, Ltd.,
*image: One of Thawan Duchanee's houses.