For Lucille Clifton

Dear Lucille
On the passing of Lucille Clifton, 1936 – 2010

I would like to think
that B.B. King named his guitar for you.
I know he didn’t. We in the know
know the myth
the real story –

we know that it is not you
whom he played to make music so sweet
that I, a grown man, cry when I hear it –

but I am comforted thinking it is so
even though you did not need a man
for making music, your wide hips
spinning men like tops
(we never doubted it for a second!)

and your words spinning out
to the sky because the pages could not
hold them for long, Lucille,
could not keep them silent all black and white

your words like you bigger than what they laid upon
and they echo like you now that you’re gone

so that sadness cannot take
hold for long, Lucille.

© 2010, Shawn Pavey. All rights reserved.

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