The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Saturday and Rare Animals

On Turning Ten
By Billy Collins

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.


Alice's son had no school on Friday, so she came up here with him and we went to lunch together with Paul at the mall (I had Cava, he had a cheesesteak, Alice had Chinese, her son had McDonald's). We stopped to visit Maddy at work, went into a few stores, and walked in Cabin John Park to see Porky the Litter Eater and catch Pokemon.

When Maddy got home from work, we had dinner with my parents, then we saw The Edge of Seventeen, in which Hailee Steinfeld gives a much better performance than the script deserves -- only barely passes the Bechdel Test because of her neurotic mother -- and Woody Harrelson does possibly the best job ever playing Woody Harrelson. Summer zoo:


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