Lex Runciman: "Old Light of Stars"




I am not the person in the wool vest,

nor violets nodding in a cluster by front steps. 

I am not that child

in the memory of the black-haired girl

whose mother’s stomach bled

as the ambulance took her away. 

I am no street or house or row of poplars.

I am not hands stacking firewood,

stealing an apricot, pushing a mower,

sorting laundry, stealing a swallow of Scotch. 

I am not asleep outside the Baptistery doors

of Florence.  I am not raspberries, nor sea salt,

nor the trail through sunned, prismatic snow.

I am not the finger held by an infant hand

nor a speaker of your language

nor a worshipper of any gold or God.

Not male, not female, not salmon,

bluestem, candle or glass.  Not Italian. 

Not internal combustion or nuclear power

or the opening of a columbine –

neither barley nor rosemary nor cilantro nor rice.

I do not sing or hum or see color

or touch any flame or fracture or argue

or sufficiently love.  I am not enough.

I am not what happened.

I do not end here, was not born here,

nor do I walk home

under the old light of stars.



Lex Runciman has had poems published in Poetry East, Rufous City Review, New Verse News, The Gettysburg Review, and Windfall.