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by Hailey Leithauser

If it could speak it would say,

up in aisle three;
would shower

the day with debris
of off-key mea

It fancies itself

the lost doppelganger
of a mid-

fifth-century saber,
practicing its rattle

when not at the table.
It’s prone to chip

stoneware and fracture
decanters, to trampling a mirror

or rim of rare crystal,
and it ponders

and ponders
with thoughts

wonder, the odd snag

of an ankle or dactyl,
the brave punch

bowl bulge at the back
of the skull,

bendings in a mandible

and clavicle,
porcelain swell

of a tea-cup patella.


Hailey Leithauser’s book, Swoop (Graywolf, 2013), won the Poetry Foundation’s Emily Dickinson First Book Award. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Antioch Review, Poetry, River Styx, Southwest Review, and elsewhere. (5/2013)

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