Saturday, February 7, 2015

William Page- Three Poems

Among bubbling of pond scum, fish
swim towards a water lily’s white bloom.
A dragonfly with translucent wings skips
across wavering water, shuttling
towards a vertigo of gnats. A snail
upside down and oblivious of its Latin name
cochlea chews beneath a wafting leaf, thistle
down floats across a field, a mole moves
its star through soil.

Had we gone to the city something marvelous
might have happened. But we lived in a little town
of boredom, where my mother said if I didn’t
behave I would turn into another Ted Bundy.
There was a big book and a little book at home
I used to build a trestle for my train.
The men shot pool in a basement hall
where clouds of smoke hung like chandeliers.
Taps on their shoes sang to the hardwood floor,
rails of freight trains struck by flying stones.
As a whistle blew to announce noon at the plant
men took their lunch sacks and sat on the lawn
to swap jokes and smoke and lie about how many
women they’d had and how a dog that danced
on its back legs was the best damned pointer
in the county and how it was another plant
that spewed poisons that killed crops and stank.
The boss would shout them back to work
to don their rubber gloves and aprons.
There was nothing for cheer except a few beers
and a Friday night game, where the home team
might throw a winning pass. When Sunday was
over they got ready for another week of wishing
something would happen, like a bank robbery
or stumbling upon a neighbor’s wife in her
back yard playing with herself.
Behind a wooden fence ponies were eating
their shadows, the last sun burning their manes.
Leaves were holding on to rippling limbs,
unaware a coming season would put them down.
Moving along the darkening highway,
I had to be somewhere before morning.
The turning moon reflected from the silver
of my wheels.
Blue lights were turning in circles
in a muffle of silence.
Bodies were lifted from the road
on to a finality of gurneys.
And the blue uniform waved me
passed a crushed sedan.
My long headlights led me on, but I was late
carrying a heavy load fallen upon me.
William Page’s third collection of poems, Bodies Not Our Own (Memphis State University Press), was awarded a Walter R. Smith Distinguished Book Award. His collection, William Page’s Greatest Hits: 1970-2000, is from Pudding House Publications. His poems have appeared widely in such journals as The Southern Review, Sewanee Review, North American Review, Southwest Review, Ploughshares, American Literary Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Pedestal Magazine, North Dakota Quarterly, Wisconsin Review, South Carolina Review, and in numerous anthologies, most recently in The Southern Poetry Anthology Volume VI: Tennessee. 

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