The Rotunda as seen from the east colonnade
Lifetime Learning

The Nameless One

April is National Poetry Month, and Lifetime Learning is pleased to celebrate the talents of UVA faculty. Enjoy our April poetry series!

Raisa Tolchinsky in an instructor and third-year Poe/Faulkner Fellow in poetry in the Creative Writing Program in the Department of English in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia.



in the mail i receive a certificate
for my adopted star: # k2-117
just above cancer’s left claw,
333 light years away and more distant
by the second. a gold half-sheet
means i get to choose a name,
but that i should choose at all, absurd—

still, i begin with the beautiful:
angel, cypress, spiral, cadillac,
then move on:
kleenex, corpse, phlegm, police.

pinprick in the curving dark,
heavy as five earths—
come nearer,
you impossible.

i give up and stand in spring’s mud
to exhale one grey sound
from an irreducible place.

just surrender
and the scream-sound
will snag and shape itself.

but it never does,
and k2-117 never comes closer
no matter how many times
i adjust my poem
which is, after all,
a telescope.

……………..(c) Raisa Tolchinsky, 2021


Continue your education with Lifetime Learning’s online resources available to alumni, parents, and friends.

The Thoughts From the Lawn (TFTL) blog is published by Lifetime Learning at the University of Virginia’s (UVA) Office of Engagement. This platform features UVA faculty and staff articles for the benefit of UVA’s alumni, parents, and friends. The views expressed in TFTL blog posts reflect the views of the authors and not those of Lifetime Learning. Lifetime Learning reviews the content and links in each article before publication; however, we take no responsibility for inaccurate information and/or links that lead to post-publication, unintended sites. Lifetime Learning is not responsible and will not be held liable for blog comments and reserves the right to remove malicious or mean-spirited responses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *