Carrying a sleeping baby.
Cleaning after a successful party.
Camping beyond mountains more mountains.
Playing trumpet on the streets of New York City.
Eating although the food supply is deeply compromised.
Flying with Democrats and Republicans, evangelicals and atheists.
Flying like a fruit fly that won’t quit mating.
Cool as a hummingbird in the stream’s wet spray.
Abstaining wholly, absent from worldly life.
Two dogs fighting but not biting hard.
Chanting as if the planet were mending.
Gourmet dining, devout prayer, loving Mary.
Evenings watching tv. Scotch and Star Trek.
Taking off Emily Dickinson’s clothes.
Meeting in the meeting house, arguing and praying.
Planning a legacy as if you knew enough to control events.
Pursuing happiness as a naturalist or humanist.
Spinning with the planet, performing the history that surrounds us.
Killing many Germans, saving many Jews.
Doing less until one thing’s done well.
Fainting from staring at candles through stained glass windows.
Morning, a billion trillion nuclear detonations per second warming your
Manipulating symbols, solving equations.
Disregarding tweets and facebook persuasions.
Sitting with a tiny Buddha near a rushing stream cutting a gorge.
Running, disciplining myself, making myself healthy.
Ingesting drugs, throwing die, drinking sludge.
Growing varicolored corn.
Participating in the cause because it’s impossible not to participate in
Running over a chipmunk, groundhog or a skunk.
Lying face down in the emergency room facing doom.
Waking up Monday thinking Sweet Saturday! but soon remembering my
Turning the towering young thunder of my anger against my sons.
Regretting the callow dispassion with which I met my parents’ quietus.
Lawn mowing, leaf blowing, yapping dogs, napping old people.
No jets but a rooster mornings, cows and goats.
Al is painting an apartment. Sirma is cleaning the floors. Felix is taking
out the garbage.
Deciding tentatively I slightly prefer Heifetz’ to Oistrakh’s Sibelius.
No cedar waxwings, no chickadees, but beautiful moon!
If you’re alone as you get, why are you crying?
—Collins, Billy, “Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes”, Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems, Random House, 2002.