Poetic Response to Lucille Clifton

Though I have studied poetry for about a decade now, one of the first poets I was introduced to in a high school creative writing course still remains one of the most powerful influences in my work: Lucille Clifton.


Homage to My Hips

Lucille Clifton

these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top

Homage to my Hands
Mindy M. Wara Maciolek

These hands are inventor’s hands,

worn to a calloused middle finger where they hold the pen,

scissors, and sewing needle.

These hands are tender hands.

They have rocked a baby to sleep,

crafted a peanut butter sandwich, and pinned up quilted forts.

These hands are seductive hands,

teasing with backrubs and tangling themselves in a man’s hair.

These hands are working hands.

They have laid concrete, sod, and roofing tiles.

These hands are thieving hands,

pocketing earrings from Kohl’s without paying the price.

These hands have flipped the bird,

flipped the channel, and flipped my hair.

These hands are crooked hands,

scarred and chipped in all the right places.

These hands are indented by rings,

scratched by cats, and scented with sandalwood lotion.

These hands have plunged through ice

and come up breathing and bleeding.


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