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Joy and Hope and All That: A Tribute to Lucille Clifton

In Celebration

After Lucille Clifton


I come back to this place—
An earth that slowtides in-and-out

Of existing, like it is the mere memory
That gives it material. This is a home

For the survived; the forgetful ones
Who once again must feel the silver

Starshine commit to the pleasure
Of skin. Heavyheaded foliage,

Rouge hydrangea and marigold,
deciduous charm regracing the expanse—

They, too, wave surrenderless, the unclasping
Such a musical thrum of liturgy. It is always morning

Here. Virgin sky canyons out vast and untamed
Groves of light, an ethereal making of new seasons,

And for however long, the world is one body,
Made of clay from a brimful mortar shell.

Come celebrate with me: I still find myself amazed
At this anatomy. Shapeless, glasslike yet glowless.

Invisible brooks of survival beneath
Each careful meridian of life.

Wes Matthews

Wes Matthews is a Detroit-born, Philadelphia-based poet and essayist. His work has been published in the Detroit Free Press, Scoundrel Time, Dreginald Magazine and elsewhere ...