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Published: Sat Jul 1 2006
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas
The Distance of Objects

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 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. Her work has appeared 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. (updated 4/2023)

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

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