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I Go Back To The House For A Book Analysis



Author: poem of Billy Collins Type: poem Views: 6

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I turn around on the gravel


and go back to the house for a book,


something to read at the doctor's office,


and while I am inside, running the finger


of inquisition along a shelf,


another me that did not bother


to go back to the house for a book


heads out on his own,


rolls down the driveway,


and swings left toward town,


a ghost in his ghost car,


another knot in the string of time,


a good three minutes ahead of me —


a spacing that will now continue


for the rest of my life.





Sometimes I think I see him


a few people in front of me on a line


or getting up from a table


to leave the restaurant just before I do,


slipping into his coat on the way out the door.


But there is no catching him,


no way to slow him down


and put us back in synch,


unless one day he decides to go back


to the house for something,


but I cannot imagine


for the life of me what that might be.





He is out there always before me,


blazing my trail, invisible scout,


hound that pulls me along,


shade I am doomed to follow,


my perfect double,


only bumped an inch into the future,


and not nearly as well-versed as I


in the love poems of Ovid —


I who went back to the house


that fateful winter morning and got the book.






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