song at midnight

                          …do not send me out
                                       among strangers
                                             —Sonia Sanchez

this big woman
carries much sweetness
in the folds of her flesh.
her hair
is white with wonderful.
she is
rounder than the moon
and far more faithful.
who will not hold her,
who will find her beautiful

if you do not?

[untitled: won’t you celebrate with me]

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

Lucille Clifton, excerpts from “song at midnight” The Book of Light. Copyright © 1993 by Lucille Clifton Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Copper Canyon Press,

This poem was originally read in the Poetry Unbound episode “Lucille Clifton — song at midnight.”