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Published: Mon Jul 1 2013
Art by Jin Suk
Crowbar

If it could speak it would say,
Clean

up in aisle three;
would shower

the day with debris
of off-key mea

_culpa_s.
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

bordering
wonder, the odd snag

of an ankle or dactyl,
the brave punch

bowl bulge at the back
of the skull,

aesthetic
bendings in a mandible

and clavicle,
porcelain swell

of a tea-cup patella.

Hailey Leithauser is the author of two poetry collections: Saint Worm (Able Muse Press, 2019) and Swoop (Graywolf Press, 2013), which won the Poetry Foundation’s Emily Dickinson First Book Award and the Towson Prize for Literature. She has recent or forthcoming work in The Birmingham Poetry Review, 32 Poems, Cincinnati Review, The Hopkins Review, Plume, Poet Lore, AGNI, Alaska Quarterly Review, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, and The Yale Review. She lives outside of Washington, DC, and teaches occasionally at the Bethesda Writer’s Center and the West Chester Poetry Conference. (updated 4/2022)

Leithauser’s AGNI poem “The Moon Speaks of Polar Bears” was chosen for The Best New Poets 2010.

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