Hailey Leithauser

[Bring me the head]

Bring me the head
of the angel whose candle
you read by. Bring me
the photograph
of your first last kiss.

Don’t try to tell me
your flesh is empyreal,
my body a shell. Bring

me your hairbrush
the color of honey,
a dark caramel swan
for when we are dead.

Murder Song
Clack, chatter,                                                                                               
Rattle, rasp, rattle:
Off at midnight
West to shallows
Squall, caw, caw, cackle:
Over meadow, tor, moorland
Natter, scratch, croak, scratch, prattle:               
Graveyard, garth, haycock, cradle.

Hailey Leithauser was born in Baltimore and raised in Maryland and Central Florida.  Over the years she has worked as a salad chef, real estate office manager, gourmet food salesperson, freelance copy editor, phone surveyor, bookstore clerk, fact checker, and, most recently, senior reference librarian at the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C.

Returning to writing after a break of several decades, her work has appeared in such publications as Poetry, Agni Online, Crazyhorse, the Gettysburg Review, the Iowa Review, Meridian, Pleiades, and Best American Poetry.

She is a recipient of the Discovery/The Nation Prize and an Individual Artist’s Grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. Leithauser’s book, Swoop
(Graywolf Press, 2013), won the Poetry Foundation’s Emily Dickinson First Book Award. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.



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