if mama
could see
she would see   
lucy sprawling   
limbs of lucy
decorating the
backs of chairs
lucy hair
holding the mirrors up   
that reflect odd   
aspects of lucy.

if mama
could hear
she would hear
lucysong rolled in the
corners like lint
exotic webs of lucysighs
long lucy spiders explaining   
to obscure gods.

if mama
could talk
she would talk
good girl   
good girl   
good girl
clean up your room.

  • Lucille Clifton, “[if mama/could see]” from Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir, 1969-1980. Copyright ©1987 by Lucille Clifton. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.

  • Source: The Norton Anthology of African American Literature (1997)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"I was surprised that I was able to select poems that are so out of my usual spoken word preference. The Poetry Out Loud website has hundreds of poems that I have never seen before, and the fact that I found 3 and was able to make it so far with them is amazing to me. I guess I learned that stepping outside of the box is okay!"
Annabelle Emuze
2015 IL POL Champion