Losing the Words


I was surprised by joy this morning to discover that Verse Daily had featured my poem “Losing the Words” late last year! Somehow I missed it — and today was the perfect day to discover it!

Here’s the link:

And here’s the poem:

Losing the Words

Wantons, they’d give themselves to anyone!

See how they slip in and out of one another’s clothes?

How – dressed in zinnia-colored feathers, giggling –
they settle to the lip like birds, then flicker away?

Oh, they hide behind the roof of my mouth with flashlights,
cast firefly shadows on my stuttering tongue –

dash onto the stage and off, grinning madly —
but above them that terrible sign: Exeunt Omnes.

For one day all of them –
all the thousand thousand names of God –

will fall in love. Conjoin. Merge
into the unkempt darkness behind the stars.

They will be gone forever. Then silence
will enter the echoing chambers of my mind.

It will speak its name at last.
I will say Yes.

Second Childhood

Second Childhood
for Lucille Clifton

Bless Lucille’s big hips!
And bless my own free-at-last hips!
Here they are dawdling
and not worrying one
bit about where they are
in relation
to anyone else.

You can look at me or not.
I am not saying anything personal anymore.

I am saying hips breasts belly legs feet
roots branches and big thick trunk
monkeys lithe and witty in the dawn trees
tigers shaking out oiled stripes of sun and shadow –

I say you can look at me or not.
I am busy dancing –
and fond
and fat as the fat old sun.