Robin Ekiss


I was raised in the company of dolls.


My mother, the miniaturist,

made pies the size of thumbnails.


My father, the shadowboxer,

talked only to the dark.


No one here remembers

the love of a chair for its ottoman

or the privacy of a shut door.


Windows grieve in their sashes.

They burn with interior light,

like blood oranges.


Imagine: a dollhouse in every room—


in every room, another room,

in every girl, another girl


looking out a tiny window,

her face repeated on the glass.


As two who could not pretend

to love each other,

we stared through grief.


Pupil, poupée, little doll

orphaned by the iris of my eye:

what did you see, what did you see


but that other girl in me,


the door to whose post was nailed

the smallest coffin,


hiding the name of God inside

like rust in the mouth.



“Preface” first appeared in The American Poetry Review, Vol. 37:5 (Sept./Oct. 2008): 24.