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Lucille Clifton
by Ann MacKenzie

I watched her sway
her hips free
at the Library of Congress
reading poems
about her life

Her two grown daughters
sat at the front table
looking up at their
graying mother whose
eyes sparkled
while her words
filled the room
in a deep hush

She was my teacher
at St. Mary's College
She shared her
poems and listened
to mine

Can hardly believe
my luck looking back
I was just beginning
to write, she was
in her prime

I asked her what
she did with all
her poems way back
when her husband
was still alive,
her girls
on the floor

She told me
she placed them
in a wooden box
and they stayed there
through decades
until the world
was ready
to listen


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