homage to my hips
Women and Femininity Quotes Page 1
How we cite our quotes:
these hips are big hips
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. (1-5)
The "petty places" the speaker references are a metaphor for the petty aspects of society which try to judge the speaker (and maybe even women in general) by fitting her into small, limiting stereotypes.
are free hips. (6-7)
In many ways, this poem enacts the process of a woman taking control of her own body – and by extension, her own life. She's free, just like her hips are free.
they don't like to be held back. (8)
Clifton's making an oblique reference here to a rather long history of repression, when women had less access to education, jobs, and all sorts of opportunities for advancement.