Emily's Reviews > Horoscopes for the Dead

Horoscopes for the Dead by Billy Collins
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Feb 22, 12

really liked it
Read in January, 2012

I never tire of Billy Collins, especially when I just want a poem that makes sense, sounds beautiful when read aloud, is precise in its attention to detail, and connects to my soul. This book delivers.

I'm not sure if it's kosher to copy the text of a poem in its entirety and post it on Goodreads, but until Mr. Collins asks for it to be removed, here is one of my favorites called "Good News."

Good News

When the news came in over the phone
that you did not have cancer, as they first thought,

I was in the kitchen trying to follow a recipe,
glancing from cookbook to stove,
shifting my glasses from my nose to my forehead and back,

a recipe, as it turned out, for ratatouille,
a complicated vegetable dish
which you or any other dog would turn up your nose at.

If you had been here, I imagine
you would have been curled up by the door
sleeping with your head resting on your tail.

And after I learned that you were not sick,
everything took on a different look
and appeared to be better than it usually is.

For example (and that's the first and last time
I will ever use those words in a poem),
I decided I should grate some cheese,

not even knowing if it was right for ratatouille,
and the sight of the cheese grater
with its red handle lying in the drawer

with all the other utensils made me marvel
at how this thing was so perfectly able and ready
to grate cheese just as you with your long smile

and your brown and white coat
are perfectly designed to be the dog you perfectly are.
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