21 Days/21 Poems: wishes for sons by Lucille Clifton

Due to internet problems and other scheduling mishaps, I was not able to complete the celebrations for National (US) Poetry Month in April.  There are two poems left to post.  I hope May does not mind this imposition.

An old favorite then for today’s 21 Days/21 Poems.

wishes for sons

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.

Source: Poets.org

Clifton’s poetry express so much with relatively few words.  Her style is understated.  And yet, Lucille Clifton (1936-2010)  always had a lot that she wanted to say.  Her poetry affirms the experiences of African-Americans and women.  She won numerous awards and also served as the poet laureate of the US state of Maryland.

You can read more about Lucille Clifton at the Poetry Foundation.



  1. What the heck does I wish them no 7-11 mean. It is the only I that is capitalized in the poem, and I am curious to its underlying meaning?


    • Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I don’t think that that line is supposed to be capitalized. I got the poem from Poets.org. But, your comment prompted to look for it on other sites and I think the capitalized “I” is a typo. Thanks for pointing it out. 711 is a chain of convenience stores. The correct spelling would be 7-eleven. But the poet has used only the numbers. Wishing the them no 7-eleven (ie denying access to convenient stores) would make it more difficult for one to get the tampons in a strange town. I hope this helps. All the best.


  2. This piece made me smile. A lot huh! I have only one wish for daughters. But not now. I agree. this says a lot with few words. It’s best if we appreciate each other. Hope May won’t mind.


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