You, Reader

reads

You, Reader

Billy Collins


I wonder how you are going to feel
when you find out
that I wrote this instead of you,

 

that it was I who got up early
to sit in the kitchen
and mention with a pen

 

the rain-soaked windows,
the ivy wall paper,
and the goldfish circling in its bowl.

 

Go ahead and turn aside,
bite your lip and tear out the page,
but, listen–it was just a matter of time

 

before one of us happened
to notice the unlit candles
and the clock humming on the wall.

 

Plus, nothing happened that morning–
a song on the radio,
a car whistling along the road outside–

 

and I was only thinking
about the shakers of salt and pepper
that were standing side by side on a place mat.

 

I wondered if they had become friends
after all these years
or if they were still strangers to one another

 

like you and I
who manage to be known and unknown
to each other at the same time–

 

me at this table with a bowl of pears,
you leaning in a doorway somewhere
near some blue hydrangeas, reading this.

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