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Love by Billy Collins

Hello, March. Hello, birthday month. In a few days I will be a quarter of a century old. I am still in awe thinking about this. Will I grow up to be the person I’ve always wanted to be? Will I finally catch up after the dreams I’m chasing? Will I ever fall in love again?

Billy Collins

The boy at the far end of the train car kept looking behind him
as if he were afraid or expecting someone

and then she appeared in the glass door of the forward car and he rose
and opened the door and let her in

and she entered the car carrying a large black case
in the unmistakable shape of a cello.

She looked like an angel with a high forehead and somber eyes and her hair
was tied up behind her neck with a black bow.

And because of all that, he seemed a little awkward in his happiness to see her,
whereas she was simply there, perfectly existing as a creature with a soft face who played the cello.

And the reason I am writing this on the back of a manila envelope
now that they have left the train together
is to tell you that when she turned to lift the large, delicate cello
onto the overhead rack,

I saw him looking up at her and what she was doing
the way the eyes of saints are painted
when they are looking up at God when he is doing something remarkable,
something that identifies him as God.

From Nine Horses by Billy Collins, published by Picador USA, 2002.

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