i had forgotten

apology
(to the panthers)

i became a woman
during the old prayers
among the ones who wore
bleaching cream to bed
and all my lessons stayed

i was obedient
but brothers I thank you
for these mannish days

i remember again the wise one
old and telling of suicides
refusing to be slaves

i had forgotten and
brothers I thank you
i praise you
i grieve my whiteful ways

–          The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010, edited by Kevin Young and Michael S.Glaser

B&W_Lucille

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