William Page



Equinox at Stonehenge

 

There are sheep here and clouds

above like wool of sheep

and rumbling memory of wheels

and motors in my head

and sound of corrugated roofs struck with hail.

But here the moon on invisible tracks

rolls in behind the clouds bringing

with it night swallows or their shadows.

 

I sit on the damp grass outside a mesh fence,

breathing in and out the dark

while my body and my mind float

into to a dream of a dream I forget

as I wake with the sun raising itself

up toward a stone lintel that held a vision

of ancients who had fed on field grain

and drunk wine of grapes crushed

by heels of mystics praising the passage

of fire through the mist of morning

between two giant upright stones.

 

Great as a god the sun elevates itself

pushing up through the sky slowly

anointing the earth with glow,

a god coming forth to make the fields

grow and the rivers shine, letting

streaming winds come with rain

and sometimes a rainbow.



Golden Rod & the Radiator

 

In fifth grade our teacher said she would be willing

to discuss any part of the body.

This gave us a lift.

We all knew what she meant, but this was long ago.

And we weren’t clinicians, didn’t know

delicate words for peter and pussy,

though we’d learned what kept Florida from breaking off

into the ocean.

 

Mostly I studied the black hands slogging

around a clock’s albino face.

A girl brought yellow wild flowers so a boy

could breathe in spasms.

I was more interested in the girl’s

growing breasts than in the history of Czechoslovakia. 

Life got a little interesting when the casement windows

were wound out in Nazi salutes.

We could hear wind rustling leaves

and the sound of cars escaping.

There was a tall boy who fell to the floor with fits.

A pencil was put in his mouth to keep him

from swallowing his tongue,

but that didn’t last long.

 

Once during geography a bird perched

on one of the tilted windows

and pooped little feces for our amusement.

Then the bird flew at an angle so low

I could see it for a long time,

till it shifted upward

tucking its body into the sky.

 

There was a boy who delighted reading entries

in the dictionary.

What can I say of such a child?

He’s dead now, and I’m drinking

beer in The Red Dog,

where words mean less

than bills slipped in the stripper’s string.

 

In our schoolroom a radiator kept pis-pis-pis-ing

steam as we calculated two trains’ meeting.

Back then smoke of coal soot

would have snaked behind,

but I didn’t care if those trains

were going to Hell or Hoboken.

 



William Page's poetry has appeared widely in such journals as Innisfree Poetry Journal, The Southern Review, The North American Review, Southwest Review, Wisconsin Review, The Midwest Quarterly, Ploughshares, The Pedestal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and in a number of anthologies. His third collection of poems, Bodies Not Our Own, received a Walter R. Smith Distinguished Book Award. His recent collection, In This Maybe Best of All Possible Worlds, was awarded the 2016 FutureCycle Poetry Book Award. He is Founding Editor of The Pinch and a retired professor of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Memphis.








                                    

 

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