Birthday

By Billy Collins (biography in Wikipedia)

Before it was over
I took out a pencil and a notepad
and figured out roughly what was left —
a small box of Octobers, a handful of Aprils,

little time to waste reading a large novel
on the couch every evening,
a few candles flaming in the corners of the room.
A fishbowl of Mondays, a row of Fridays —

yet I cannot come up with anything
better than to strike a match,
settle in under a light blanket,
and open to the first sentence of Clarissa.

Look at me setting off on this long journey
through ink and tears,
through secrecy and distress,
anticipation and swordplay.

As the darkness thickens
and the morning glory puts down its trumpet,
as worms begin to sing in the garden,
and Christ looks down from the wall,

I will begin inching toward the end —
page one thousand five hundred and thirty-three
in this Penguin paperback edition,
introduction and notes by one Angus Ross.

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