You, Reader




You, Reader

I wonder how you are going to feel
when you find out
that I wrote this instead of you,

that it was I who got up early
to sit in the kitchen
and mention with a pen

the rain-soaked windows,
the ivy wall paper,
and the goldfish circling in its bowl.

Go ahead and turn aside,
bite your lip and tear out the page,
but, listen—it was just a matter of time

before one of us happened
to notice the unlit candles
and the clock humming on the wall.

Plus, nothing happened that morning—
a song on the radio,
a car whistling along the road outside—

and I was only thinking
about the shakers of salt and pepper
that were standing side by side on a place mat.

I wondered if they had become friends
after all these years
or if they were still strangers to one another

like you and I
who manage to be known and unknown
to each other at the same time–

me at this table with a bowl of pears,
you leaning in a doorway somewhere
near some blue hydrangeas, reading this.  — Billy Collins / The Trouble with Poetry


I recently submitted poetry for acceptance into a Billy Collins workshop in Key West. I did not get into the workshop and was obviously disappointed, but fortunately the disappointment did not last long. I am not a poet, I only play at poetry, and there are serious poets out there who are much more deserving of the space. This rejection in no way diminished my love for Billy Collins, in fact, I somehow feel closer to him knowing that I almost got into his workshop.


art work: Frederick C. Frieseke


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