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  • Marjorie Robertson

Poetry for physical distancing: "Stars" by Louise Gluck



I'm awake, I am in the world--

I expect

no further assurance.

No protection, no promise.


Solace of the night sky,

the hardly moving

face of the clock.


I'm alone--all

my riches surround me.

I have a bed, a room.

I have a bed, a vase

of flowers beside it.

And a nightlight, a book.


I'm awake; I am safe.

The darkness like a shield, the dreams

put off, maybe

vanished forever.


And the day--

the unsatisfying morning that says

I am your future,

here is your cargo of sorrow:


Do you reject me? Do you mean

to send me away because I am not

full, in your word,

because you see

the black shape already implicit?


I will never be banished, I am the light,

your personal anguish and humiliation.

Do you dare


send me away as though

you were waiting for something better?


There is no better.

Only (for a short space)

the night sky like

a quarantine that sets you

apart from your task.


Only (softly, fiercely)

the stars shining. Here,

in the room, the bedroom.

Saying I was brave, I resisted,

I set myself on fire.

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    © 2015 by Marjorie Robertson