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.