Billy Collins

you gave me a name and gave me hope of love,
you listed your favorites
your very favorite at the end

“then i shall begin with The Dead”
i said.
smiley face.

poem after poem
unwritten birds
glass bottom boats

if i did find love,
if i had to give it a moment
if i had to call it by its name
i found promise in


You know the parlor trick.
wrap your arms around your own body
and from the back it looks like
someone is embracing you
her hands grasping your shirt
her fingernails teasing your neck
from the front it is another story
you never looked so alone
your crossed elbows and screwy grin
you could be waiting for a tailor
to fit you with a straight jacket
one that would hold you really tight.


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