You and Your Ilk
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.
From Child Made of Sand by Thomas Lux. Copyright © 2012 by Thomas Lux. Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Thomas Lux is the author of several books of poetry, including To the Left of Time (Mariner Books, 2016) and New and Selected Poems, 1975-1995 (Houghton Mifflin, 1997).
Date Published: 2012-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/you-and-your-ilk