My Life

Sometimes I see it as a straight line
drawn with a pencil and a ruler
transecting the circle of the world
 
or as a finger piercing
a smoke ring, casual, inquisitive,
 
but then the sun will come out
or the phone will ring
and I will cease to wonder
 
if it is one thing,
a large ball of air and memory,
or many things,
a string of small farming towns,
a dark road winding through them.
 
Let us say it is a field
I have been hoeing every day,
hoeing and singing,
then going to sleep in one of its furrows,
 
or now that it is more than half over,
a partially open door,
rain dripping from the eaves.
 
Like yours, it could be anything, a nest with one egg,
a hallway that leads to a thousand rooms–
whatever happens to float into view
when I close my eyes
or look out a window
for more than a few minutes,
so that some days I think
it must be everything and nothing at once.
 
But this morning, sitting up in bed,
wearing my black sweater and my glasses,
the curtains drawn and the windows up,
 
I am a lake, my poem is an empty boat,
and my  life is the breeze that blows
through the whole scene
 
stirring everything it touches–
the surface of the water, the limp sail,
even the heavy, leafy trees along the shore.
 
~~ Billy Collins ~~