who would believe they could be beautiful

Lucille Clifton (1936-2010) wrote so many strong, visceral poems–this is one of my favorites.



who would believe them winged
who would believe they could be

beautiful      who would believe
they could fall so in love with mortals

that they would attach themselves
as scars attach and ride the skin

sometimes we hear them in our dreams
rattling their skulls     clicking their bony fingers

envying our crackling hair
our spice filled flesh

they have heard me beseeching
as I whispered into my own

cupped hands     enough not me again
enough     but who can distinguish

one human voice
amid such choruses of desire

Source: Poetry (September 2007).