from The Book of Ruth

Sophia Starmack 


What Ruth’s Right Eye Saw
at the Edge of the Village

The tombstones humped on top
with squat stone hats like pastry
spilled over the pan.
The woman in the linen suit, hunched  
the guide book that tells her: 
father, eldest son, servant.
The blank space where daughter might be
and the eye of the sea refusing to blink.
The brightness smells of sunscreen and
     fried herring,
the plane trees bear no witness.
The rock-rot scent. 
The stringed song of the ocean will never
be tender.

What Ruth’s Left Eye Saw
as the Journey Began

A lost alphabet streaming
where red roses string
through holes drilled
in a marble tomb.

A man and woman, threaded half-aware
through the prehistoric stone spaces
of their lives. The sun cuts the sky in two.
Heaven is a white sheet,

paper where he might write,
Don’t hate me for the chisel’s work,
and she could erase the mark,
their common language shed at last.



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. 

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