Thursday, May 19, 2011


Mundane, I am not convinced that you exist.
That all moments do not contain magical qualities
dormant until the alchemy of our brains,
that ancient power of humor and sight
turns you pure
smelts the meaning out of this drive home.

-Me, trying to elevate this morning's carpool

Ave Atque Vale

Even though I managed to swerve around the lump
of groundhog lying on its back on the road,
he traveled with me for miles,

a quiet passenger
who passed the time looking out the window
enjoying this new view of the woods

he once hobbled around in,
sleeping all day and foraging at night,
rising sometimes to consult the wind with his snout.

Last night he must have wandered
onto the road, hoping to slip
behind the curtain of soft ferns on the other side.

I see these forms every day
and always hope the next one up ahead
is a shredded tire, a discarded brown coat,

but there they are, assuming
every imaginable pose for death's portrait.
This one I speak of, for example,

the one who rode with me for miles,
reminded me of a small Roman citizen,
with his prosperous belly,

his faint smile,
and his one stiff forearm raised
as if he were still alive, still hailing Caesar.

-Billy Collins


  1. Loverly. Billy Collins had a reading in LA a few weeks ago; so tempted to go.

  2. sniff. that is a sad picture, and a sad poem. living in the south west is full of lots of those kinds of things. barry lopez has a nice essay on saying sorry for just that sort of sad and violent end. and carpooling sucks. m-OH-no

  3. M-to-the-Ono
    No way dude, it's hysterical (the poem, not the dead animal)
    Come on, the image of roadkill hailing Caesar is brilliant.
    MamaZu-really? We should get on his mailing list or something??
    Tanya-Google images "human roadkill" kinda evens out the playing field for the animals!

  4. ok, ok, i will admit what to came to my mind after reading was 1. that is a tits-up armadillo, not a groundhog. 2. a smashed bunny on the road the other day...all that was left was an ear sticking up, sort of waving like the groundhog arm. 3. my mom making my brother and i pretend to puke on the side of the road while she picked the quills out of a dead porcupine to make earrings.
    still, i always feel a little bad...momomomno

  5. Hay lady, this ain't Animal Planet.
    Your mom was weird.
    Do you have those earrings? 'Cuz I will buy them.


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