about the author

Laurie Patton earned a BA from Harvard University and a PhD from the University of Chicago and is serving as professor of religion at Duke University, where she teaches early Indian religions, comparative mythology, and religion and literature. She’s had two books of poetry published: Fire’s Goal: Poems from the Hindu Year (White Cloud Press, 2003) and Angel’s Task: Poems in Biblical Time (Station Hill, 2011). Her translation of the Bhagavad Gita was published in 2008 in the Penguin Press Classics Series. She has also worked as a Fulbright scholar, in both India and Israel. Her poems have also been published in Nimrod International Journal, Calyx, CCAR Journal, Compass Rose, Confluence, Fox Cry Review, Grey Sparrow, Kerem, Phoebe, Plainsongs, Red Wheelbarrow Literary Magazine, Reed Magazine, Sanskrit, Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts, Studio One, Summerset Review, and Women’s Torah Commentary (United Reform Judaism Press).

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Laurie Patton

After he smears
his face with ash
and presses his cheek
to the floor,
what does Job see?

Perhaps he is given
the eyes of a child:
the whorls
in the wooden planks
become traces of wind,
and the lines
between the tiles
are teeming roads,
trafficked by mites.

Perhaps such tiny worlds
are the only ones
that grief can see,
when the human-size
weight of loss
pushes us groundward.

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