By Kathryn Starbuck Kathryn Starbuck
I was the lonely one in whom   
they swarmed in the millions.   
I was their creature and I   
was grateful. I could sleep   
when I wanted.   

I lived a divided   
existence in sleepdreams   
that lit up a silence as dreadful   
as that of the moon. I have   
an overly-precise recall of   

those solitary years before   
I opened the curtain and drew   
upon a universe of want that made   
me so strong I could crack   
spines of books with one hand.

Source: Poetry (March 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2009
 Kathryn  Starbuck


Journalist, essayist, and newspaper editor, Kathryn Starbuck started writing poems in her 60s. She is the author of Griefmania (Sheep Meadow Press, 2006) and Sex Perhaps (Sheep Meadow Press, 2014). Her poems have appeared in the New Yorker, Poetry, Sewanee Review, and Best American Poetry 2008. Though she was a practiced prose writer, it was the experience of grief that led her to writing poetry. After the deaths of her . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Love, School & Learning, Heartache & Loss

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.