‘Wishes for my sons’ by Lucille Clifton

‘Wishes for my sons’ by Lucille Clifton (1987)
i wish them cramps.
i wish them a strange town
and the last tampon.
i wish them no 7-11.

i wish them one week early
and wearing a white skirt.
i wish them one week late.

later i wish them hot flashes
and clots like you
wouldn’t believe. let the
flashes come when they
meet someone special.
let the clots come
when they want to.

let them think they have accepted
arrogance in the universe,
then bring them to gynecologists
not unlike themselves.

************************************************************************************
I haven’t read a huge amount of poetry about parenthood, but this is one of my absolute favorites. In fact, it was one of the inspirations for this blog. Late one summer evening in 2017, my dad and I were sitting in my living room. I mentioned that I had been thinking about starting a blog about social justice and parenting. He (someone who actually didn’t raise any sons!) immediately thought of this poem and showed it to me. Lucille Clifton gave words to what it means to raise a feminist son. To raise an empathetic son. To raise a son who understands the anatomy of a body with a different reproductive system than his. To raise a son who does not approach the world with arrogance but with a humble curiosity and humor.

Today, I’m going to let Lucille speak for me. She does it so much better!

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