here rests

Lucille Clifton

 
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
reading
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.
 
Lucille Clifton, "here rests" from Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton. Copyright 1991 by Lucille Clifton. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of BOA Editions, Ltd., boaeditions.org.

Poems by This Author

4/30/92 for rodney king by Lucille Clifton
so
blessing the boats by Lucille Clifton
may the tide
cutting greens by Lucille Clifton
curling them around
far memory by Lucille Clifton
my knees recall the pockets
homage to my hips by Lucille Clifton
these hips are big hips.
it was a dream by Lucille Clifton
in which my greater self
jasper texas 1998 by Lucille Clifton
i am a man's head hunched in the road
miss rosie by Lucille Clifton
when I watch you
mulberry fields by Lucille Clifton
they thought the field was wasting
my dream about being white by Lucille Clifton
hey music and me only white
poem in praise of menstruation by Lucille Clifton
if there is a river
poem to my uterus by Lucille Clifton
you uterus
sisters by Lucille Clifton
me and you be sisters...
sorrows by Lucille Clifton
who would believe them winged
the earth is a living thing by Lucille Clifton
is a black shambling bear
the lost baby poem by Lucille Clifton
the time i dropped your almost body down
the lost women by Lucille Clifton
i need to know their names
to my last period by Lucille Clifton
well, girl, goodbye
wishes for sons by Lucille Clifton
i wish them cramps.
won't you celebrate with me by Lucille Clifton
won't you celebrate with me


Further Reading

Poems About Tragedy and Grief
"My True Love Hath My Heart and I Have His"
by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge
Adonais, 49-52, [Go thou to Rome]
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Hamlet, Act III, Scene I [To be, or not to be]
by William Shakespeare
Against Elegies
by Marilyn Hacker
Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100
by Martín Espada
Arise, Go Down
by Li-Young Lee
Assault to Abjury
by Raymond McDaniel
Before
by Carl Adamshick
Breaking Across Us Now
by Katie Ford
Curtains
by Ruth Stone
Day of Grief
by Gerald Stern
Dear Lonely Animal,
by Oni Buchanan
December, 1919
by Claude McKay
Easter 1916
by W. B. Yeats
Eulogy
by Kevin Young
Facing It
by Yusef Komunyakaa
Fairbanks Under the Solstice
by John Haines
Hum
by Ann Lauterbach
I Can Afford Neither the Rain
by Holly Iglesias
I Found Her Out There
by Thomas Hardy
I measure every Grief I meet (561)
by Emily Dickinson
I Pack Her Suitcase with Sticks, Light the Tinder, and Shut the Lid
by Rob Schlegel
Imagine
by Kamilah Aisha Moon
In Louisiana
by Albert Bigelow Paine
Lycidas
by John Milton
Memorial Day for the War Dead
by Yehuda Amichai
On His Deceased Wife
by John Milton
Ozymandias
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Pretty Polly
by Jane Springer
Quiet Mourning
by Laura Moriarty
Requiescat
by Matthew Arnold
Richard Cory
by Edwin Arlington Robinson
Rose Aylmer
by Walter Savage Landor
September 1, 1939
by W. H. Auden
Song ["When I am dead, my dearest"]
by Christina Rossetti
Stillbirth
by Laure-Anne Bosselaar
Surprised By Joy
by William Wordsworth
That This
by Susan Howe
The Dead
by Joan Aleshire
The Gaffe
by C. K. Williams
The Hour and What Is Dead
by Li-Young Lee
The Not Tale (Funeral)
by Caroline Bergvall
The Second Coming
by W. B. Yeats
The Stolen Child
by W. B. Yeats
The Widow's Lament in Springtime
by William Carlos Williams
The Words Under the Words
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Tigers
by Melissa Ginsburg
To W.C.W. M.D.
by Alfred Kreymborg