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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Genes We’d Choose

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.

  • 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).