William Page: "The Flush of Hearts"




To the cavalcade of bikers, to the parade of bachelors,

to this garage door I open and enter, to

wrenches and screwdrivers scattered

in oil on the floor, iridescent lakes without shores,

to the ghost arms of his jacket with zippers ripping

through the canyons of compressors and jacks,

the exhaust pipes and crankcases calling his name,   

his voice burned into the walls, the gloves      

without fingers grasping toward the ceiling               

and the flag of his blue bandana folded flat,

clock hands stopped in their tracks,

the handlebars bowing for his face lost

in the mirror, and fenders

that give up no answers, for the sweaty

smell of his helmet that can’t

lift up his head and the shine of his leather boots            

that won’t walk him back from a half-shell of night        

cradling his head, and the drum beat, slow                

as a stripper’s string descending, and for the meshed gears

of remembrance that start the engine to show him

riding among a covey of Harleys, and for the flush

of hearts he’d held in his hand.



William Page's third volume of poems, Bodies Not Our Own (Memphis State University Press), was awarded a Walter R. Smith Distinguished Book Award. Another collection, William Page’s Greatest Hits: 1970-2000, is from Pudding House Publications. His poems have appeared widely in literary journals, including  North American Review, Southern Review, Southwest Review, Rattle, Ploughshares, Literary Review, American Literary Review, Mississippi Review, Wisconsin Review, Kansas Quarterly, Midwest Quarterly, Sewanee Review, Southern Poetry Review, Pedestal Magazine, and in a number of print and online anthologies.