“to the unborn and waiting children” by Lucille Clifton:
i went into my mother as
some souls go into a church,
for the rest only. but there,
even there, from the belly of a
poor woman who could not save herself
i was pushed without my permission
into a tangle of birthdays.
listen, eavesdroppers, there is no such thing
as a bed without affliction;
the bodies all may open wide but
you enter at your own risk.
(From The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010, edited by Kevin Young and Michael S. Glasner with a foreward by Toni Morrison © 2012 by The Estate of Lucille Clifton. Used by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd. Photo by Nick Mealey)