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Breakfast with Billy Collins

By Jane Gibson


Struck dumb in the stacks

I gape and inhale

the essence of Billy Collins.


Succinct words crowd the car seat

follow me home

pile on the oak kitchen table.


Lines blur the anthem,

fall from my lips.

The alto on my right cuts her eyes


at me, frowns, as I sing

alleluia to God

for a poet’s concise perfect words.


I knit them into purple wool mittens,

scrawl them in green ink

on the grocery list alongside


mlk, s-dried tom and crrts.

Eat them in cereal

from a box of recycled cardboard,


then peer from my window in

frank emulation

and searching the sunrise find


pithy words that I own,

untasted by his lips,

not mentioned by his pen.



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