Hangover

If I were crowned emperor this morning,

every child who is playing Marco Polo

in the swimming pool of this motel,

shouting the name Marco Polo back and forth 

Marco         Polo          Marco          Polo 

would be required to read a biography

of Marco Polo—a long one with fine print—

as well as a history of China and of Venice,

the birthplace of the venerated explorer 

Marco          Polo         Marco          Polo 

after which each child would be quizzed

by me then executed by drowning

regardless how much they managed

to retain about the glorious life and times of  

Marco           Polo         Marco          Polo 

Billy Collins is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Ballistics and The Trouble with Poetry, and served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001-2003.

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