This poem makes me happy. The idea of the dead watching us - the communion of saints is not something Billy Collins made up - but his thoughts make me smile.
I think of my Dad in heaven, only he's not in a rowboat, he's in a boat at Xochimilco. Instead of an oar, he is holding a guitar, and maybe a cafecito to go with the ride. When he sees us look up, he stops mid chorus of "O Tu Fidelidad" and waits.
The dead are always looking down on us, they say,
while we are putting on our shoes or making a sandwich,
they are looking down through the glass-bottom boats of heaven
as they row themselves slowly through eternity.
They watch the tops of our heads moving below on the earth,
And when we lie down in a field or on a couch,
drugged perhaps by the hum of a warm afternoon,
they think we are looking back at them,
which makes them lift their oars and fall silent
and wait, like parents for us to close our eyes.