by Billy Collins
My life is an open book. It lies here
on a glass tabletop, its pages shamelessly exposed,
outspread like a bird with hundreds of thin paper wings.
It is a biography, needless to say,
and I am reading and writing it simultaneously
in a language troublesome and private.
Every reader must be a translator with a thick lexicon.
No one has read the whole thing but me.
Most dip into the middle for a few paragraphs,
then move on to other shelves, other libraries.
Some have time only for the illustrations.
I love to feel the daily turning of the pages,
the sentences unwinding like string,
and when something really important happens,
I walk out to the edge of the page
and, always the student,
make an asterisk, a little star, in the margin.
Collins, B. (1999). Questions about angels: Poems. Pittsburg: University of Pittsburgh Press. (library)