Moonchild

whatever slid into my mother's room that
late june night, tapping her great belly,
summoned me out roundheaded and unsmiling.
is this the moon, my father used to grin.
cradling me? it was the moon
but nobody knew it then.

the moon understands dark places.
the moon has secrets of her own.
she holds what light she can.

we girls were ten years old and giggling
in our hand-me-downs. we wanted breasts,
pretended that we had them, tissued
our undershirts. jay johnson is teaching
me to french kiss, ella bragged, who
is teaching you? how do you say; my father?

the moon is queen of everything.
she rules the oceans, rivers, rain.
when I am asked whose tears these are
I always blame the moon.

by Lucille Clifton

Comments (10)

the moon understands dark places. the moon has secrets of her own. ———— Girlhood experience revealed in the background of the moon.. Terrific.
the moon is queen of everything. she rules the oceans, rivers, rain. when I am asked whose tears these are I always blame the moon........beautiful expression with nice theme. Brilliant write.
A powerful, biting work that explores how children find refuge from horrors over which they have no control. To be able to project our pain onto something distant and objective in order to survive the painful reality of that which is close and familiar. Terrific writing; necessarily horrible subject.
The moon understands dark places! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
A translation of the poem in Hindi/Urdu here - https: //www.poemhunter.com/poem/moonchild-a-poem-by-lucille-clifton-in-hindi-urdu-translation/
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