to my last period

Clifton, Lucille

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Wear, Delese
  • Date of entry: Feb-01-2001


The narrative voice of this short poem familiarizes her period, giving it life affectionately as "girl," but a girl who never appeared without trouble, "splendid in your red dress." Yet even with the trouble (pain? unexpected appearances?), she now thinks differently as the "girl" begins to leave. The voice calls forth images of huddled grandmothers who, after the "hussy has gone," sit holding her picture, sighing, "wasn't she beautiful?" The poem expresses the ambivalence many women feel toward menstruation--the lived experience of pain, bloating, and inconvenience, contrasted with its earthy, rich, symbolic nature.

Primary Source

Quilting: Poems 1987-1990



Place Published

Brockport, N.Y.