All of the poems for September by Lucille Clifton are from “Quilting: poems 1987-1990.” The book was published in 1991 by Boa Editions Limited in Rochester, New York.

“questions and answers”

what must it be like
to stand so firm, so sure?

in the desert even the saguro
hold on as long as they can

twisting their arms in
protest or celebration.

you are like me,
understanding the surprise

of jesus, his rough feet
planted on the water

the water lapping
his toes and holding them.

you are like me, like him
perhaps, certain only that

the surest failure
is the unattempted walk.