Constantinople was founded on May 11th (3 hundred something) - Phoebe's birthday. Sophie was born in August, however. My mother hand-made a wooden bathtub boat for me, when I was 2 or 3 years old - painted blue & white, with "Sophie" inscribed on the bow. The little boat has turned up in a few poems over the years (I wish I had a photo of that vessel). Eventually I gave it to Elena Shvarts, the dear Petersburg poet, & she kept on her windowsill. Petersburg is a place for boats. Here's Sophie in a boat, too...
& here's a poem from Ravenna Diagram, which I wrote just before Sophie was born. So we weave these odd carpets with words... past & future...
THE HUMAN DOME
Now daughter Phoebe’s salient belly
measures the girth of future
earth... Hiya, Sophia!
She shall be dark, but comely,
I prophesy. & coming soon,
I reckon. So the sweep
of Time’s straw broom
swings reaping into sunny bloom
again, again. Let there be light
& joy, after the pain
that day – O reign,
Sophie, that day – with gentle might!
As when the heir looks out, calmly
from oaken hideaway
like Noah, into hay-
stacks of a cleanswept sea
of waving grain... I pledge allegiance
to the flag of the United
States of a merry, delighted,
omnibenevolent Pacific... O glance
encompassing – your quietude, your
equanimity! Your rain
that slakes the level plain
of just, unjust... onion & all!
I hear the drone of universal union
peal from bells in Petersburg
& Panama... in Denver, Darling,
& Dhaka... my child... my matryoshka-lion!