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.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Lucille Clifton's poem wishes for sons


  1. Salwa says:

    I believe Mike is right.She is not showing the other sex as weak of the female sex as dominant because man has no clue what a woman go through. It is basically pointing at the desensitized world. Man earns by working hard. He needs to remember what he aimed at when he started working. If it is just money that he is after, then he better know that he does not belong to the human race…which has seen pain right in front of its eyes. It is for both men and women alike that Lucille speaks. She wants to induce the feelings of wonderment and amazement that once existed when we were young. It has to stay with us till we take our last breath.

  2. Mike says:

    After reading a few comments this poem disappoints me. If it is serious in its feminist approach in suggesting men go through less pain in their lives than women, I think it shows a real lack of insight by Clifton. I do not think this was her aim, I think it has a lighter, more playful meaning to it (almost a joke). But when i read comments like megans i begin to lose faith.

    Saying another sex has it “better” then you is childish and irresponsible. Saying that the other sex doesn’t appreciate your hardships or pain is hypocritical.

    • Alexis says:

      I believe you may have missed the point, which only furthers Clifton’s point. She is not saying men have it better (thought I believe they do). A woman’s menstruation has been looked down upon for years. She has been seen as unpure and even untouchable in some cultures dating back thousands of years. That is something she cannot help. She was born with that. Men have nothing like that and instead of trying to sympathize, the often get offended and take on the roll of the victim when women try to explain it. Men will never know the paralyzing fear of knowing your pregnant with a child you do not want, even when they had 50% to do with it. Yes, they may be scared, but they will never know what it’s like to fear death during childbirth or sacrifice your body so it can be a walking incubator for a child, amongst other things a healthy reproductive systems brings. Listen to understand, not to respond, men.

    • Sasha says:

      I hope you realize that life is harder for women than it is for men. That is a fact. Yes, men go through difficulties and life isn’t perfect for them. But the fact remains that the patriarchy is built for life to be easier for them. Judging by your grammar you seem to be a child, please do some research before making immature comments like these.

    • Lo FiGirl says:

      Mike, your comment entirely proves her point. Good Lord, men keep doing this! Pathetic, really.

  3. Megan says:

    Men generally have no clue what its like to be a female, to tell you the truth it just about sucks, Lucille Clifton realizes this and characterizes it in a poem addressed to men, so that they may better understand women. She is a voice for women. For men to better understand that women aren’t feeble, docile creatures but strong and can endure great hardships that a man would crumble under.

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