So here you are at eighty-three, tasting the winds
that lick down the steppes with Genghis Khan.
Your marbled mind now wilder than anything
a life of sweat and mild humor has wrought,
step after step on the postman’s route, cameras
in the john so you wouldn’t dally, layer cakes, gherkins
—and your hand, still hard and wide on my lap
as I pare the flaked paper of your nails. Now
there is no one to absolve my father’s fear of leaving,
no one to uncomb the consonants of the family name,
no one to knead blood sausage or gnaw raw horseradish
till tears stain the unwilling earth—and at last
death appears as easily as any other task
one never asked for or stopped to dispute,
but only stood to greet.
Sophia Starmack’s work has been published in Best New Poets, Luna Luna, Her Kind, and other journals and anthologies. She was a 2014-15 Poetry Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where she currently serves as Writing Fellowship Coordinator. Her chapbook, The Wild Rabbit, was published in 2015.