Last night

Last night, after a day of exploring around the Sonoma Coast, I lounged on my sofa, right in the corner, in what is becoming my favorite nook of our new house.

Here, the dark comes with crickets — their chirps charge the night, as if the sound generates our power, the light in the bulbs shining down on the pages of my Billy Collins book.

I’ve had this Billy Collins book for years, since one of the editors of an education magazine I worked at did a piece on him. I must have bought it so I could become familiar with his poems, though the book has been unopened since, moving from bookshelf to bookshelf.

Somehow, it survived numerous purges and now sits on my tiny house’s shelf.

I read the book last night and felt mostly indifferent, but I read several poems that I thought were interesting. I didn’t love them, nor could I say I enjoyed them — but for those moments they engaged me in some small way, in a way I cannot articulate.

I know nothing about poetry.

I read aloud the ones I thought were interesting to Nick, and I’m glad I did. They didn’t quite transform, but I appreciated them more. Quick visuals, moments of play. When reading a poem, I feel like a dim creature clawing at the pages, what is this, what does this mean, is there something in there. 

I get only hints. Like a flickering TV.

I plan to go to a local Goodwill to donate more things I don’t need. I might add this book to the pile and try to read another book of poems, but I wonder if I should keep it on my shelf — the ones I found interesting might become something more. I don’t know.


Published by Cheri Lucas Rowlands

I am an editor at Longreads. For over a decade, I've worked on curation, editing, and storytelling projects across Automattic, including

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