Robin Ekiss


Nested inside her like successive Russian dolls—
              how much I might love,
                            how brown my eyes
       or this Roman nose

that migrates across my face. The smallest stamp
              of bees across the apron of a dog rose—
                            how much room is there
       for impatient tendency?

Only my mother’s mother’s mother knows,
              so deep inside the drop of me
                            it cannot be divulged.
       A clue: the spine is laddered

for an uphill climb. In a photograph
              her dress was lovely, littered as it was
                            with red umbrellas,
       hair done up in a bun—

and in the next, she has none. Where is that place
              in all of human history
                            she can leave her mark,
       if not on me?



"Genealogy" first appeared in The Kenyon Review, Vol. XXVIII:1, (Winter 2006): 54.