listen,

when I found there was no safety

in my father’s house

I knew there was none anywhere.

You are right about this,

how I nurtured my work

not my self, how I left the girl

wallowing in her own shame

and took on the flesh of my mother.

but listen,

the girl is rising in me,

not willing to be left to

the silent fingers in the dark,

and you are right,

she is asking for more than

most men are able to give,

but she means to have what she

has earned,

sweet sighs, safe houses,

hands she can trust

– Lucille Clifton

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