Dear Lucille Clifton
by Lenora Rain-Lee Good

I apologize ahead of time
for all the whining
in this letter, but you see
Michael Twitty told me I needed
to buy two books by black authors
in the next few days. And as
I'm a reader, it sounded
like a very good idea.
Besides, I like Michael. Or
think I would, if we ever met.
Since I like words in black
ink, I never pay attention
to the color of the author,
so I called my sister of choice
and asked her for recommendations.

I had already ordered one by
Yusef Komunyakaa (with whom
I am in literary lust) but was
stuck on the second one.
She recommended you.
When I checked your books
on Amazon, and read her the
titles, asked which I should buy,
she said I HAD to get
your collected poems,
wrapped in a hard back.

I immediately started
whiniing. I hate
hard back books! The
only thing worse than a
hardback book is a book with
endnotes instead of footnotes.

I tried to explain to her
that I read in bed
and hard back books
are heavy, and if I fall
asleep while reading,
as I am wont to do,
they tend to fall on my face
as they are wont to do.
They bend my glasses,
they hurt my nose, they

She told me to
hush my mouth and
order the book.

Because I always
do what my sister of
choice says to do
(she's been to college,
after all, and I haven't)
I continued to whiiiiine—
but ordered the book.
Then I discovered it
weighs 2.7 pounds!
And that it has
720 pages! Oh,
why could not your publisher
have put it out in trade paper? Then
when I fall asleep,
and the book falls
upon my upturned
face, it won't break
my glasses. It won't break
my nose.

I am writing this
whiiiiiiiiiiine now, because
the book will be here tomorrow
and with 720 pages of
goodness to read, I
do not, under any
want to have to stop
and write it then.

Sincerely, and
yadda yadda yadda


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