52 Poems: Week 16 Billy Collins

She's cute, but why did she make me so dumb?
Jane Hancock of the UCLA Writing Project introduced me to the poetry of Billy Collins. I just came across this poem and I think I can relate, but I can't really remember. For over a year-and-a-half now, I feel my brain has left me. Baby brain, I am telling you, is a real thing. Becoming a mother has made me so stupid
I forget students' names, why I'm standing at the fridge, my phone, what street Kiara's daycare is on, all of it. My mother would say I've always been a little forgetful (lost jackets and sweaters, scarves and mittens) but now it's ridiculous. Today I lost my wallet (then found it), my keys (found them too), and my mind (maybe I just need a little more sleep).

Billy Collins

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE it! I abandoned my sweater in room 221 and lost my cup for tea. Except it was somehow in the car when I got in to go home this afternoon!