Fool Me Good

By Billy Collins (biography in Wikipedia)

I am under the covers
waiting for the heat to come up
with a gurgle and hiss
and the banging of the water hammer
that will frighten the cold out of the room.

And I am listening to a blues singer
named Precious Bryant
singing a song called “Fool Me Good”

If you don’t love me baby, she sings,
would you please try to fool me good?

I am also stroking the dog’s head
and writing down these words,
which means that I am calmly flying
in the face of the Buddhist advice
to do only one thing at a time.

Just pour the tea,
just look into the eye of the flower,
just sing the song —
one thing at a time

and you will achieve serenity
which is what I would love to do
as the fan-blades of the morning begin to turn.

If you don’t love me, baby,
she sings
as a day-moon fades in the window
and the hands circle the clock,
would you please try to fool me good?

Yes, Precious, I reply.
I will fool you as good as I can,
but first I have to learn to listen to you
with my whole heart,
and not until you have finished

will I put on my slippers,
squeeze out some toothpaste,
and make a big foamy face in the mirror,

freshly dedicated to doing one thing at a time —
one note at a time for you, darling,
one tooth at a time for me.

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