William Page




Shadows

Did God take enough time with the sparrow? Always hungry
it pecks at crumbs in the parking lot where I go in the night,
where the street light waves to a taxi speeding with a cargo
on their way to their corners.

The locked down museum and the taxi’s meter
follow the laws of nature, though knowing nothing
of the hidden side of the moon or of calculus of children’s dreams
or that a rooster will be crowing in the morning when a wife
pours coffee as a kitten curled in a corner breathes
in and out delicately as drifting seeds of a dandelion.

Meanwhile, the sparrow has flown to the limb of a leafing elm
and is chirping at something we can’t see.
Far away, the moon casts shadows of a bat’s wings sweeping
across a window leaving shadows to do what shadows must do.


Driving with Ace

The grass was green. The road was black. The wheels
turned forward as they would in a life-like movie.
Ace was beside me. We were moving on fast, craving
a few beers where the girls were we’d be dancing with
and we’d be wanting more than they would give.

Soon night would fall like coal soot. Trees along
Highway 104 gave their leaves to rustling as we passed.
The moon was shining like a bald head between the clouds.
Around a curve we came upon a circling blue light
and a man sweeping the air with the beam of a long flashlight.
A pistol was holstered at his side. Shattered glass
and pieces of metal were scattered on the roadway and ground.

We got out to see the wrecked car, lying upside down,
and in the stillness of the evening Ace pulled back a sheet
from a face whose eyes stared up, not seeing the blinking stars.
We drove on in the darkening night. We met the girls.
The girls grew older, married and moved away.
Highway 104 got widened. Ace took back his given name
and got a job at Randell’s Mortuary, incinerating the dead
in a blazing furnace, roaring to two thousand degrees.                    

A soul leaving the dead weighs less than a fraction of an ounce
according to the National Enquirer. But Ace, née David,
firing up his furnace, says he knows nothing about
the weight of souls and doesn’t care how many angels
theologians have claimed could dance upon the head of a pin,
but down the road at Denim & Diamonds he’s danced
with Denise and Danielle and says either of them
is angel enough to open the door of heaven.                                                                                        

To Know

As a small child when I saw a goldfish swimming
in a lily pond I might have thought a piece of sun
had broken off and fallen from the sky.
The opinions of children sometimes soft
as air can also be hard as iron. I was told
the swirl of water down a drain takes
direction relative to the equator’s position.
But the Coriolis effect is weak as water.
A pipe’s position determines rotation of flow.
Many people will believe anything
if they read it in a book, especially
if its cover is black and it has many pages.
When I travel I watch for laws of movement.
But seeing cause and effect is much
like balancing an egg on end.
I have seen smoke rising in turns
and assumed wind was moving it,
though usually I don’t trust the unseen.
And since I can’t see you reading this
how can I be sure you’re there? 

    



William Page’s fifth collection In This Maybe Best of All Possible Worlds won the 2016 FutureCycle Poetry Book Prize. His collection Bodies Not Our Own received a Walter R. Smith Distinguished Book Award. His poetry has appeared widely in such journals as Innisfree Poetry Journal, The Southern Review, The North American Review, Southwest Review, Ploughshares, The Midwest Quarterly, The Literary Review, The Pedestal, The Cortland Review, and in a number of anthologies, and has been featured in Best of the Net and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He is founding editor of The Pinch.








                                    

 

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