April Freeman Banner 2014

POETRY

The Genes We'd Choose

OCTOBER 15, 2013 by SOFIA M. STARNES

The lifting mist; a curtain lifts: remnants of a sail.
Happy the stowaways that sail.

I am addicted to those fans over the doorways, clear symbols
out of glass. What name does each entail?

Once there were diamonds on a ship, the fleers of catastrophes—
young boys in caps and girls with veils…

Watch them, leaning on the bowsprit toward East.
Some centuries turn children into birds and perch them on a boat’s rail.

The 19th was like this, when generations hithered, descending
in a circular array: cousins, second-kin—my heart’s trail.

Blest are the hands and ankles wreathed in beadsblest, too,
the errant gene, the rib that runs away from ribs, the bones in dark detail.

Old wisdom—wiser in a child’s breath—set out to sea, when roots fail.
Speck in the blue, feet on a deck: the wind that bodes a young sail.

ASSOCIATED ISSUE

November 2013

ABOUT

SOFIA M. STARNES

Sofia M. Starnes, Virginia’s current poet laureate, is poetry editor at the Anglican Theological Review. Her most recent book is Fully Into Ashes (Wings Press, 2011).

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