by Billy Collins
No one seems to be a champ at this.
We lift from the pillow a head flickering
with the light from an unlikely scene:
we are driving backwards down a highway in space
or searching a house with cockeyed walls for a door,
or stairs, and running into the face of a dead uncle.
But the rest of the story vanishes
as if someone had ripped an ancient epic from our hands,
leaving us with a fragment, a few hexameters
whose rhythm is drowned out by the beat of daylight.
Just as well we salvage only these scraps,
otherwise we would sit up in bed all day
replaying these strange movies about ourselves,
dumbstruck in pajamas at the escapades that go on
while we toss, snore and kick off blankets.
We would be like enraptured explorers peering
out of a diving bell in the Arctic,
beholding the whole measureless iceberg.
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