By Billy Collins
Featured Image: “The Past and the Present, or Philosophical Thought” by Henri Rousseau
The fox collaborates with the chicken.
The motorcycle collaborates with the tree.
The knife collaborates with the throat,
and you want to collaborate with me.
Your watercolors and my poems,
side by side for all to see.
You say it will be interesting and fun.
There you stand, ready to collaborate with me.
The lemming collaborates with the cliff.
The propeller collaborates with the manatee.
The wineglass collaborates with the floor,
and you’re all about collaborating with me.
Your photographs and my poems,
facing each other for all to see.
It will be experimental and fun, you say,
since the time has come to collaborate with me.
The hammer collaborates with the thumb.
The razor collaborates with the goatee.
The mousetrap collaborates with the mouse.
Are you sure you want to collaborate with me?
Your poems and my blurb,
together in a chapbook for all to see.
You say it would make you feel better.
I see why you want to collaborate with me.
Billy Collins’s latest collection is Whale Day (Random House, 2020). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Originally appeared in NOR 11.