To A Stranger Born In Some Distant Country Hundreds Of Years From Now

by Billy Collins

Billy Collins

I write poems far a stranger who will be born in some distant country hundreds of years from now. – Mary Oliver

Nobody here likes a wet dog.
No one wants anything to do with a dog
that is wet from being out in the rain
or retrieving a stick from a lake.
Look how she wanders around the crowded pub tonight
going from one person to another
hoping for a pat on the head, a rub behind the ears,
something that could be given with one hand
without even wrinkling the conversation.

But everyone pushes her away,
some with a knee, others with the sole of a boot.
Even the children, who don’t realize she is wet
until they go to pet her,
push her away
then wipe their hands on their clothes.
And whenever she heads toward me,
I show her my palm, and she turns aside.

O stranger of the future!
O inconceivable being!
whatever the shape of your house,
no matter how strange and colorless the clothes you
may wear,
I bet nobody there likes a wet dog either.
I bet everybody in your pub
even the children, pushes her away.





Last updated June 27, 2015