Guest poem sent in by Rachel W.W. Granfield
(Poem #1246) the lost baby poem
the time i dropped your almost body down down to meet the waters under the city and run one with the sewage into the sea what did i know about waters rushing back what did i know about drowning or being drowned you would have been born into winter in the year of the disconnected gas and no car we would have made the thin walk over genesee hill into the canada wind to watch you slip like ice into strangers' hands you would have fallen naked as snow into winter if you were here i could tell you these and some other things if i am ever less than a mountain for your definite brothers and sisters let the rivers pour over my head let the sea take me for a spiller of seas let black men call me stranger always for your never named sake
[notes] Lucille Clifton read at my high school in 1993, and ten years later I still remember her inflection when reading her work. This is not one of the ones she read that night, but (after much time spent reading through what I own of her work) I decided to send it in because of its influence on another artist, the singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco, with whose music I became familiar around this time as well. "Lost Woman Song," on DiFranco's debut album (which she released at the age of nineteen), is dedicated to Clifton. "lost woman song" by Ani DiFranco -for lucille clifton i opened a bank account when i was nine years old i closed it when i was eighteen i gave them every penny that i'd saved and they gave my blood and my urine a number now i'm sitting in this waiting room playing with the toys and i am here to exercise my freedom of choice i passed their handheld signs went through their picket lines they gathered when they saw me coming they shouted when they saw me cross i said why don't you go home just leave me alone i'm just another woman lost you are like fish in the water who don't know that they are wet as far as i can tell the world isn't perfect yet his bored eyes were obscene on his denim thighs a magazine i wish he'd never come here with me in fact i wish he'd never come near me i wish his shoulder wasn't touching mine i am growing older waiting in this line some of life's best lessons are learned at the worst times under the fierce fluorescent she offered her hand for me to hold she offered stability and calm and i was crushing her palm through the pinch pull wincing my smile unconvincing on that sterile battlefield that sees only casualties never heroes my heart hit absolute zero lucille, your voice still sounds in me mine was a relatively easy tragedy now the profile of our country looks a little less hard nosed but that picket line persisted and that clinic's since been closed they keep pounding their fists on reality hoping it will break but i don't think there's a one of them leads a life free of mistakes [biographical information] Information on Clifton's life is here ([broken link] http://www.poets.org/poets/poets.cfm?45442B7C000C0E05); the site also includes a few of her other poems ("Homage to My Hips" is one of my favorites). Ani DiFranco fansites are legion, but this one ([broken link] http://www.ani-difranco.net/) has good information, including bio, lyrics, etc.