Monday, April 18
so I thought, I've already embarrassed myself on the internet, why not share a poem I wrote?
by Helen Carter
with thanks to Billy Collins
While Mr. Collins sails alone around the room
I chase myself through my house.
Growing larger as I run - I only inhale -
from room to room I plod,
duck through doorways, careen off shaking walls,
flat feet pounding the worn wooden floors,
the ceiling fan now a garland in my hair.
Once I thought I had myself cornered
in the dust behind the furnace. And once I lunged at a blur of light
behind the shower curtain. Both times I fell.
I pass the baton to my other hand and pick up pace,
now even the dog, who will chase his own tail until he falls over
sees no point in this race
and lies down on the futon, idly counting laps.
I know what the buddha said
about the ten thousand things:
they are as they are.
But he has never been over to my place,
let alone climbed the stairs to my attic.
There he would find me,
fully inflated, finally still, exhausted,
sneaker filling the stairwell, neck bent oddly,
one giant pouting eye
blinking out through the louvered window,
noting the weeds in the garden, thinking
I’ve never been as cute as Alice,
thinking my head has grown too large to rest in his hands,
still thinking I will win next time ...
almost tired enough to exhale
before inhaling again.
His fingers find the hanging string and he puts out the light,
squeezing past my foot and silently down the stairs.
In the hall, the dogs thunk their tails as he passes,
not even bothering to lick his knees;
they know he is only walking over to my desk
as he does every day
to sit by the lamp and wait for me to wake up.