Hooray! One of my favorite poets, Billy Collins, has a new book out. "Aimless Love, New and Selected Poems," Random House, N.Y. Available at your local bookstore. Go out an buy some poetry. The poets will thank you. You will thank them for giving you new language with which to view your world.
There's a possum who appears here at odd times,
often walking up the path to the house
in the middle of the day like a little ghost
with a long tail and a blank expression on his face.
He likes to slip behind the woodpile,
but sometimes he gets to close to the window
where I am standing with a glass in my hand
that I start to review my sins, systematically
going from one commandment to the next.
What is it about him that causes me
to begin an examination of conscience,
calling to mind my failings in this time of reflection?
It could just be the twitching of the tail
and that white face, but his slow priestly pace
also makes a contribution, as do the tiny paws,
more like hands, really, with oposable thumbs
able to carry a nut or dig a hole in the earth
or lift a chalice above his head
or even deliver a document,
I am thinking as he nears the back door,
not merely a subpoena but an order
of excommunication with my name and a date
writtten in fine Italian ink
and signed with a flourish of the papal sash.