my dream about the second coming

By Lucille Clifton 1936–2010 Lucille Clifton
mary is an old woman without shoes.   
she doesn’t believe it.
not when her belly starts to bubble
and leave the print of a finger where   
no man touches.
not when the snow in her hair melts away.   
not when the stranger she used to wait for   
appears dressed in lights at her
kitchen table.
she is an old woman and
doesn’t believe it.

when Something drops onto her toes one night   
she calls it a fox
but she feeds it.

Lucille Clifton, “my dream about the second coming” from Next. Copyright © 1987 by Lucille Clifton. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions Ltd.,

Source: Next (1987)

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Poet Lucille Clifton 1936–2010

Subjects Faith & Doubt, Religion, Christianity

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Lucille  Clifton


A prolific and widely respected poet, Lucille Clifton's work emphasizes endurance and strength through adversity, focusing particularly on African-American experience and family life. Awarding the prestigious Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize to Clifton in 2007, the judges remarked that “One always feels the looming humaneness around Lucille Clifton’s poems—it is a moral quality that some poets have and some don’t.” In addition to the . . .

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SUBJECT Faith & Doubt, Religion, Christianity

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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