This poem is taken from Stand 218, 16(2) May - June 2018.

Sue Stern Two Poems
Leaving St Petersburg   1905/2008

Sophia, my little grandmother,
today, leaving Russia for ever,
you might be my grand-daughter
and I am standing behind you.

The sea glassy, pressed against the ship’s rail,
you watch cranes, crushing machines, insect figures
who swivel their cart and horse and trundle away.

I am named after you. We have the same blue eyes,
arched eyebrows, pale skin. You’ve coiled
and looped your hair above the widow’s peak,
mine is coloured beyond my years.
You are twenty-one.

The ship’s horn booms. Like a shofar on the Day
of Atonement, it fills each heart with awe.
Now is the true separation.
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