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The Distance of Objects

by Hailey Leithauser

from Lawrence Edwards’s
The Spangled Heavens, 1951

Someone on another hill.
It is best not to look
straight at them. Observe them

out of the corner of your eye

like looking at a view from a railway carriage
in the absolute stillness and silence.

They seem to be almost touching one another,
the Old Moon in the New Moon’s Arms,

the distance of objects very far away.

Perhaps you have sometimes looked up
at the sky, a piece of black glass.

All this time the light is sinking.

The natural question to ask is: If you
were out on a dark night,
if we lived through the cold.

The natural question to ask:
If you walked toward them,

if we are quite alone.


Hailey Leithauser’s work has recently appeared or is upcoming in Green Mountains Review, Pleiades, Meridian, The Greensboro Review, and Seneca Review. She is assistant editor of The National Poetry Review. (10/2006)

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