William Page, "Illusions"



In a small township in the middle
of a state shaped like a parallelogram
my father owned the only movie house in town,
the former having been burned to ground
it was rumored for insurance money
by the very family for whom
our little community was named.
Under the light of Father’s new marquee
where neon burned red and mauve
brown sparrows twittered, pecking
at hardtacks my brother had poured
at the curb, dumped from a silver hopper,
my sibling the savior who fattened town
folk and farm hands come into shadows
from bright fields and lowing cattle.
Come for fantasies to take them
out of themselves as they passed
under a blazing marquee, an artifice
mimicking the searing sun burning
their lives of milk and barley.
Moths of all sizes with wings brilliant
shades of green, blue and jonquil yellow,
some of gold and white of snow, designs
of eyes and shapes of unfolded fans
glittered in the evening’s glare.
Moths swooped and splintered,
darting at the marquee’s glow, flailing
at the brilliance, which to their eyes
must have been beams of bliss,
as they battered from their wings
flecks delicate as illusions.


William Page’s third volume of poems, Bodies Not Our Own (Memphis State University Press), was awarded a Walter R. Smith Distinguished Book Award. A collection titled William Page’s Greatest Hits: 1970-2000 is published by Pudding House Publications. His poems have appeared in such journals as North American Review, Southern Review, Southwest Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Literary Review, In Posse, Rattle, Ploughshares, American Literary Review, Sewanee Review, Southern Poetry Review, and in a number of anthologies. He is founding editor of The Pinch.