Study Guide

Climbing

by Lucille Clifton

Climbing eText - eText

Text of the Poem

a woman precedes me up the long rope,
her dangling braids the color of rain.
maybe i should have had braids.
maybe i should have kept the body i started,
slim and possible as a boy’s bone.     5
maybe i should have wanted less.
maybe i should have ignored the bowl in me
burning to be filled.
maybe i should have wanted less.
the woman passes the notch in the rope     10
marked Sixty. i rise toward it, struggling,
hand over hungry hand.