poem by Billy Collins

Axiom
by Billy Collins
"Life is beautiful. Life is sad."
--NABOKOV
And the two are braided together
like the long hair of a woman
who is about to die suddenly.

She arranges a vase of flowers,
takes a coat from the closet.
She regards herself in a mirror.

She is leaving the house,
closing the door behind her.
There is no stopping her.

The sadness is the bread
and the beauty is the wine
or the other way around.

I have been visited by a thought
contoured like an automobile:
beautiful.

Then again, I am lying under
all the clothes of the dead,
feeling every ton
as they add more to the pile.