Family Solo


In prayerful, rational geometry

his arrow arced

but just—a kill—
through heaven’s rolled, impersonal blue,

arriving beyond view
before the thought of it.

The deer kicked without purchase
in the air
so, the further out she ran,
she laid right there

before he raised a pole

a little taller

than a daughter
on a pile of oiled wood
might stand.


On his cup
the murex —

a spiny conch
as if within the rib complex
of some dissolved

new proprietors
built a calcite beehive tomb

captured in Syrian ivory
and Caucasian tin
that touches between his eyes

each sip axe glint

as naval ships
that lamplight sails
approach the bath

gridded, grouted, fit.

Whose legs submerged waste?

What man’s penis refracted to a boy’s wavers

and in creases of lapped water
winks away?

His own?

Or is he meant to be on board
and then myself in Mycenae

on the outer room’s pisé walls
he storms

Copyright © 2020 by Eric Ekstrand. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 15, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.