By Eric Ekstrand Eric Ekstrand
The spine is a slide of human marvels; it is a hierarchy of white florets; it is a cult of secret brothers; it is a deliberate list; so look how the spineless relax in their unblushing banality.

I lose my patience in Greensboro where no discoveries are ever made and the only inner lavishment is the bar, occasionally.

he spineless aspire to incessant interludes that never arrive anywhere and that can’t remember wherefrom they came.

Mary is slightly spineless, for instance: her dress is cream her skin is cream her creamy mind is fine and her life will end finely—how sad is that to think of, the finery of a cream life?

It is the saddest of all truths that can be read on a person’s face in a decorous garden that person has planted themselves and of which they are explaining to you the intricacies and expense:

“notice how in the light”; “three pallets shipped last week”; “have complementary attitudes when it comes to soil-type and moisture.” She isn’t wicked; but, also, she destroys the art of her life.

NOTES: Each “Plumblossom” is a selection from the papers of Eliot Pfitzer, whose trots and glosses of Naemura Chiri’s work were invaluable to my translations. These have been reprinted with permission from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where Pfitzer’s manuscripts are archived.

Source: Poetry (November 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the November 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

November 2009
 Eric  Ekstrand


Eric Ekstrand lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with his husband, Danny, and his father, Ken. He teaches writing at Wake Forest University. He is the recipient of a 2009 Ruth Lilly Fellowship awarded by the Poetry Foundation and graduated from the University of Houston with an MFA in creative writing in 2010. His first full-length collection, Laodicea, was selected by Donald Revell for the Omnidawn 1st/2nd Book Prize and . . .

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