As I’m leaving Bodacious Bagels and approaching my car, I notice a man going in who looks a lot like Billy Collins, enough like Billy Collins that I consider going back in and asking him if anyone else has ever told him he looks like Billy Collins, but, given the state of poetry in America, I think better of it. The man who looks like Billy Collins may have no idea who Billy Collins is. And wouldn’t I feel like an old fool when he looked at me as if I was an old fool. So I get in my car instead and start it. On the radio, which is already on, Billy Collins is just finishing a segment of Writer’s Almanac. I mull over the coincidence and think of Billy Collins’s poem about the mouse in the wall carrying a strike-anywhere match and remember the first time I read one of his books—Picnic, Lightning—at a Barnes & Noble while I was waiting for a friend who’d dropped me off there to return. I read the whole book through while waiting and bought it and brought it home and read it through again. Billy Collins can be a very funny man. I consider whether the man who went into Bodacious Bagels would find Billy Collins’s poetry a pleasure to read. But then a news program comes on talking about the blackout of August 14, 2003— my 56th birthday—and I remember my birthday dinner wound up being a bag of chips from a convenience store because all the restaurants around were closed because they had no electricity and I think how the whole damned mess that day could have been caused by a rodent, like the mouse in the wall in Billy Collins’s poem, though it wasn’t. It was caused, instead, by a drooping high tension line that sagged enough that it touched a tree and shorted out, though nobody knew that then. ////// Matthew J. Spireng’s 2019 Sinclair Poetry Prize-winning book Good Work was published in 2020 by Evening Street Press. An 11-time Pushcart Prize nominee, he is the author of two other full-length poetry books, What Focus Is and Out of Body, winner of the 2004 Bluestem Poetry Award, and five chapbooks. He was the winner of The MacGuffin’s 23rd Annual Poet Hunt Contest in 2018 and the 2015 Common Ground Review poetry contest. Website: matthewjspireng.com.