On Lucille’s Rite of Passage
after Lucille Clifton, Motherpoet
(June 27, 1936 – February 13, 2010)
My hands are weak.
Fingers heavy as ready breasts
for a full-bellied son.
I have no wisdom,
none greater than has dewed
from the dawn of your round
bones, mother cheeks
like the promise of pretty brown moles,
your low gray hair makes me proud
to know my tongue’s texture,
knowing for a being, both
black and female, all citrus is not sour,
most fruits will not be sweet.
We trust our ready buds to name
the difference, identify the bruises.
My eyes follow the dark paths
on the pale side, respect the wait
in my palms for the day I can say
your name the right way.