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Callaloo 24.4 (2001) 969

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Here Rests

Lucille Clifton

my sister Josephine,
born july in '29,
and dead these 15 years
who carried a book
on every stroll.

when daddy was dying
she left the streets
and moved back home
to tend him.

her pimp came too,
her Diamond Dick,
and they would take turns

the bible aloud through the house.
when you poem this,
and you will, she would say,
remember the Book of Job.

happy birthday and hope
to you Josephine,
one of the easts'
most wanted.

may heaven be filled
with literate men,
may they bed you
with respect.

Lucille Clifton, Poet Laureate of the State of Maryland (1975-85), was recently awarded the National Book Award for her Blessing the Boats (2000). For her numerous books of poetry she has received many fellowships and awards, including the Shelley Memorial Prize, a Charity Randall Citation, an Emmy Award from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, a selection as a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library, a Lannan Achievement Award in Poetry, and the 1999 Lila Wallace-Readers' Digest Writers' Award. She serves on the board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets and was recently elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her poetry collection, The Terrible Stories (1996), was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Lenore Marshall Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Award.



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