It’s a secret society
Keeps from itself—how much of life
Is lived alone by the lonely.
In stories, the lonely are rare
Within their eras, exceptions
Even when they’re protagonists.
Community’s the rule, and rules,
As any nun or monk knows well,
Were formed to rule communities.
Hermits are exotics. They are,
If they’re required to be remote
In woods or deserts, on islands,
But we know stories of hermits
More appropriate to the world,
Such as the tale of the person
Who moved daily through small spaces
In the cracks of cities, suburbs,
Office parks, and commuter lanes,
Repeatedly making contact
With scattered points of social worlds,
The way darkness encounters stars,
But is mostly what isn’t stars,
Is most of what is, energy
That shapes the fragile shell of fires
But can’t be caught burning itself.
It’s not the tale of one rare life.
It was legion, and so are you.