Saturday, February 23, 2008

"daughters" by Lucille Clifton

woman who shines at the head
of my grandmother's bed,
brilliant woman, i like to think
you whispered into her ear
instructions. i like to think
you are the oddness in us,
you are the arrow
that pierced our plain skin
and made us fancy women;
my wild witch gran, my magic mama,
and even these gaudy girls.
i like to think you gave us
extraordinary power and to
protect us, you became the name
we were cautioned to forget.
it is enough,
you must have murmured,
to remember that i was
and that you are. woman, i am
lucille, which stands for light,
daughter of thelma, daughter
of georgia, daughter of
dazzling you.

I like this last poem because of its short, energetic lines - she doesn't waste time. And I like how she reclaims a forgotten unnamed foremother - renames her and reclaims her by imagining her. Like the poem at the first of the week, this poem bears witness to the lastingness of family connection.

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