You and Your Ilk

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.
 
From Child Made of Sand by Thomas Lux. Copyright © 2012 by Thomas Lux. Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Poems by This Author

A Little Tooth by Thomas Lux
Your baby grows a tooth, then two,
Dead Horse by Thomas Lux
At the fence line, I was about to call him in when
Gradeschool's Large Windows by Thomas Lux
weren't built to let the sunlight in
Onomatomania by Thomas Lux
the word for the inability to find the right word,
Render, Render by Thomas Lux
Boil it down: feet, skin, gristle,


Further Reading

Back to School Poems
Apples
by Grace Schulman
Being Jewish in a Small Town
by Lyn Lifshin
Evening Walk as the School Year Starts
by Sydney Lea
First Gestures
by Julia Spicher Kasdorf
Gradeschool's Large Windows
by Thomas Lux
In Michael Robins’s class minus one
by Bob Hicok
M. Degas Teaches Art & Science at Durfee Intermediate School, Detroit 1942
by Philip Levine
Mary's Lamb
by Sarah Josepha Hale
Niggerlips
by Martín Espada
Nonsense Alphabet
by Edward Lear
One A.M. [excerpt]
by David Young
Panty Raid
by Terri Ford
Pledge
by Elizabeth Powell
Sentimental Education
by Mary Ruefle
Sick
by Shel Silverstein
The Hand
by Mary Ruefle
The High-School Lawn
by Thomas Hardy
The Junior High School Band Concert
by David Wagoner
The Testing-Tree
by Stanley Kunitz
Theme for English B
by Langston Hughes
We Real Cool
by Gwendolyn Brooks
Why Latin Should Still Be Taught in High School
by Christopher Bursk