Sofia M. Starnes, Poet

One of my poems, The Soul’s Landscape, likens the relationship between the soul and the body to that of a marriage, with the soul pursuing the body, to create a self. The poem’s metaphor applies with equal force to poetry, to the relationship between the text and the body of the poem.

The Soul’s Landscape

Ah, what the soul gives for shape –
to be handled head-first

at the temple, to be cumbered
with cotton, white puffs

from plantations in heat; what it gives,
for the flick, flick elastic

on wrists, loose-leaf palms it befriends,
at its youngest – for the sake

of all this, and this place.
Love me now with your

hands (says the soul, half-exploring its
landscape), better me

with embodiment; come, angle the ribs
where they beach into

longing; come, finger the oval description
of death, smallest hope

for cessation. When the room is redundant
of space, and its walls

wish for closure, thumb my corners
up, inward, wade your lips

through the ridge where they meet,
to allow recollection.

I must love with the tissue and the gloss
that embody: cellule, elegy,

ghost, danger, languish… all those words
out of context for souls,

god-forsaken, whiplash of the neck –

is the word I would use the most cautiously;
how precarious its hum,

ear to earth, plumbing earth, earthwise.

From: A Commerce of Moments
Pavement Saw Press, Ohio, 2003
First published in Pavement Saw Magazine

(Comment excerpted from


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