The Rival Poet

The column of your book titles,
always introducing your latest one,
looms over me like Roman architecture.
It is longer than the name
of an Italian countess, longer
than this poem will probably be.
Etched on the head of a pin,
my own production would leave room for
The Lord's Prayer and many dancing angels.
No matter.
In my revenge daydream I am the one
poised on the marble staircase
high above the crowded ballroom.
A retainer in livery announces me
and the Contessa Maria Teresa Isabella
Veronica Multalire Eleganza de Bella Ferrari.
You are the one below
fidgeting in your rented tux
with some local Cindy hanging all over you. 

 

 

Billy Collins is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Ballistics and The Trouble with Poetry, and served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001-2003. 

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