Billy Collins in Flight

LaGuardia to Orlando International Airport


I noticed waiting for a flight from New York to Orlando

that Billy Collins was in the food court,


eating with chop sticks.


Then I noticed him on my plane,

occupying a window seat a few rows ahead.


I wondered if he was nursing a drink on ice,

or watching Gone with the Wind.


He might have been listening to

Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger


at 36,000 feet above New Bern and the Carolinas.


I imagined that he’d enjoy reading my poetry,

the notebook I had filled nearly to capacity,


and when he looked up from it,

he would notice my earnest breath.


He would notice my Hitchcock tattoo,

ask me how often people have to ask what it is.


After landing, I noticed Billy Collins at the baggage carousel,

noticed him collecting his suitcase from the conveyer belt,


noticed as America’s favorite poet disappeared into Orlando,

covering his head in the light rain.


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