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About this poet

Katy Lederer is the author of the poetry collections The bright red horse— and the blue— (Atelos, 2017), The Heaven-Sent Leaf (Crown Publishing, 2008), and Winter Sex (Wave Books, 2004), as well as a memoir, Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers (Broadway Books, 2003). Lederer has served as an editor for The Poetry Project Newsletter and Fence Magazine. She has received fellowships from Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, and the New York Foundation for the Arts, and she lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Market Day

It was the market day
and I had rented a stile
by which I could number my patrons;
and a tree, so that I could plant something
living by my selling stand;
and a hefty snatch of my favorite black cloth
so that I could mimic mourning
and people might think that my husband had died
(which he had not).

But knowing that patrons
offered more money to women in black,
I pretended as such and left some of the coins
buried after I had packed up my stand.
I supposed that burying them
might make up for my pretending.
I had also to uproot the tree
and then take it back to my brother-in-law,
so there was already a great gaping hole in the ground.

Copyright © 2018 Katy Lederer. This poem originally appeared in Kenyon Review, November/December 2018. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2018 Katy Lederer. This poem originally appeared in Kenyon Review, November/December 2018. Used with permission of the author.

Katy Lederer

Katy Lederer is the author of the poetry collections The bright red horse— and the blue— (Atelos, 2017) and The Heaven-Sent Leaf (Crown Publishing, 2008).

by this poet

poem
After Duras
"We go back to our house. We are lovers. 
We cannot stop loving each other."

I come to confiscate your love. 
What will you do?

Small shrubs grow in the blackened yard.
Sun, which is yellow, shines in through the windows, now barred.

You were watching me eat. 
Put
poem

I slapped my chickens with a ruler
as they looked at their privates—
they were ashamed and walked
as if they were kings.
I had punctured the chest
of the cavity rooster.

My dog was licking my ankles
and giving me wedding rings.
It was too much to care—
so I took money

poem

That everything's inevitable. 
That fate is whatever has already happened. 
The brain, which is as elemental, as sane, as the rest of the processing universe is. 
In this world, I am the surest thing.
Scrunched-up arms, folded legs, lovely destitute eyes. 
Please insert your spare