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.
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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.