POETRY: The Listener by Billy Collins

The Listener by Billy Collins

I cannot see you a thousand miles from here,
but I can hear you
whenever you cough in your bedroom
or when you set down
your wineglass on a granite counter.

This afternoon
I even heard scissors moving
at the tips of your hair
and the dark snips falling
onto a marble floor.

I keep the jazz
on the radio turned off.
I walk across the floor softly,
eyes closed,
the windows in the house shut tight.

I hear a motor on the road in front,
a plane humming overhead,
someone hammering,
then there is nothing
but the white stone building of silence.

You must be asleep
for it to be this quiet,
so I will sit and wait for the rustle of your blanket
or a noise from your dream.

Meanwhile, I will listen to the ant bearing
a dead comrade
across these floorboards—
the noble sounds
of his tread and his low keening.Save

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