You and Your Ilk

by Thomas Lux

I have thought much upon

who might be my ilk,

and that I am ilk myself if I have ilk.

Is one of my ilk, or me, the barber

who cuts the hair of the blind?

And the man crushed by cruelties

for which we can't imagine sorrow,

who would be his ilk?

And whose ilk was it

standing around, hands in pockets, May 1933,

when 2,242 tons of books were burned?

Not mine. So: what makes my ilkness my

ilkness? No answers, none forthcoming.

To be one of the ilks, that's all

I hoped for; to say hello to the mailman,

nod to my neighbors, to watch

my children climb the stairs of a big yellow bus

which takes them to a place

where they learn to read

and write and eat their lunches

from puzzle trays—all around them, amid

the clatter and din,

amid bananas, bread, and milk.

all around them: them and their ilk.

(thanks, rudee)


  1. Why do I read this and start humming Jackson Brownes, For Every Man?

    1. How lucky we were to grow up hearing these songwriter-poets in the background of our lives. All the wisdom scattered in the this man!!


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