Report from the Subtropics

By Billy Collins b. 1941 Billy Collins
For one thing, there’s no more snow
to watch from an evening window,
and no armfuls of logs to carry into the house
so cumbersome you have to touch the latch with an elbow,

and once inside, no iron stove waiting like an old woman
for her early dinner of wood.

No hexagrams of frost to study carefully
on the cold glass pages of the bathroom.

And there’s no black sweater to pull over my head
while I wait for the coffee to brew.

Instead, I walk around in children’s clothes—
shorts and a T-shirt with the name of a band
lettered on the front, announcing me to nobody.

The sun never fails to arrive early
and refuses to leave the party
even after I go from room to room,
turning out all the lights, and making a face.

And the birds with those long white necks?
All they do is swivel their heads
to look at me as I walk past
as if they all knew my password
and the name of the city where I was born.

Source: Poetry (September 2012).

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This poem originally appeared in the September 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

September 2012
 Billy  Collins

Biography

Dubbed “the most popular poet in America” by Bruce Weber in the New York Times, Billy Collins is famous for conversational, witty poems that welcome readers with humor but often slip into quirky, tender or profound observation on the everyday, reading and writing, and poetry itself. John Updike praised Collins for writing “lovely poems...Limpid, gently and consistently startling, more serious than they seem, they describe all . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Travels & Journeys, Nature, Animals, Summer

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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