Billy Collins

Burial Arrangements
December 21, 2018 Collins Billy

Burial Arrangements

If I have to be buried at all,
make my final resting place
the front the local cemetery,
close to the road that runs into town.

That way, if I don’t like it there,
I can walk over to the shoulder,
stick out my thumb, if I still have one,
and get a ride to the Mohawk Diner,

where I plan to enjoy
a slice of warm apple pie
and a black coffee (no sugar)
more than any man or woman
who has ever walked the face of the earth.

But on second thought,
I’ve heard some scary stories
about people who pick up hitchhikers,
so let’s bury me in the rear of the cemetery,
back by that thick gathering of trees.

Then, if I happened to change my mind,
I would be near those lovely woods
where I could rejoice in private,

a chipmunk on a tree stump,
some birds among the leaves,
and maybe a spider and his fly

my only audience as I danced
and sang a song to life in my dark blue suit.

Billy Collins’ latest collection is Musical Tables: Poems (Random House 2022). In 2017, he was admitted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.