A Poem For Thursday

From “far memory, a poem in seven parts” by Lucille Clifton:

my knees recall the pockets
worn into the stone floor,
my hands, tracing against the wall
their original name, remember
the cold brush of brick, and the smell
of the brick powdery and wet
and the light finding its way in
through the high bars.

and also the sisters singing
at matins, their sweet music
the voice of the universe at peace
and the candles their light the light
at the beginning of creation
and the wonderful simplicity of prayer
smooth along the wooden beads
and certainly attended.

(Reprinted from Angles of Ascent, A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, edited by Charles Henry Rowell © 2013 by Charles Henry Rowell. Used by kind permission of BOA Editions, Ltd. Video of the poet Sharon Olds reading from the work of Clifton last November, during a Poetry Society of American event honoring iconic black poets)