cutting greens

By Lucille Clifton 1936–2010 Lucille Clifton
curling them around
i hold their bodies in obscene embrace
thinking of everything but kinship.
collards and kale
strain against each strange other
away from my kissmaking hand and
the iron bedpot.
the pot is black,
the cutting board is black,
my hand,
and just for a minute
the greens roll black under the knife,
and the kitchen twists dark on its spine
and I taste in my natural appetite
the bond of live things everywhere.

Lucille Clifton, "cutting greens" from The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton. Copyright © 1987 by Lucille Clifton.  Reprinted by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.

Source: Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir (BOA Editions, Ltd., 1980)

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Poet Lucille Clifton 1936–2010

Subjects Activities, Eating & Drinking, Relationships, Home Life, Religion, The Spiritual

Poetic Terms Metaphor

 Lucille  Clifton

Biography

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 Activities, Eating & Drinking, Relationships, Home Life, Religion, The Spiritual

Poetic Terms Metaphor

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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