“Intro to Poetry Class with Billy Collins Before He Was, and I was Only Seventeen” by Amy Soricelli

My professor comes in many languages.
I see him on the shelves, a long line of him.
Each book with different covers all saying the same thing.
I remember in English, how he’d pace his thoughts in the front
of the room, a skinny cigarette burning;
no one knowing where he’d land the ash.
Often he’d say something funny, and we’d stop to smile.
He never expected we were listening,
told us so.
Oh, you were listening?
Before we could finish putting our poem to ink,
we’d have to go around the room borrowing
compliments from one another.
Act kind to each other before you don’t, he’d suggest.
Soon after, we tossed ice pellets,
tiny bits of stone.
He’d sit in the front, ducking;
drinking coffee,
flicking his ash.

 

 

Amy Soricelli has been published in numerous publications and anthologies including Dead Snakes, Corvus Review, Deadbeats, Long Island Quarterly, Voice of Eve, and The Long Islander. Her chapbook, Sail Me Away, was published in 2019 by Dancing Girl Press. Amy was nominated by Billy Collins for an Emerging Writer’s Fellowship in 2019 and for Sundress Publications’ Best of the Net in 2013. She is a recipient of the Grace C. Croff Poetry Award, Lehman College, 1975.

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