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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 II

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 from women
by pretending that I was a husband
and then left my dog in my place
when I woke up in their beds.

I saved dimes in their mouths, though,
and then I’d pull their chains—
I’d pretend that I was the tooth fairy
then take all their money.

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

Pushed together, pulled apart, we were purported pluripotent.
We developed as an organ, a benign and beating heart.

We sought physicians for histology. Discovered spinal symmetry.
Within the sacred bowl of life, our innards spilled in red array.

I wondered what you'd have to say if

poem

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

poem

Focus for
us was a thing hard to
come by. We would have to make due with
whatever

we had: these
were pills and a pencil,
blue earplugs to block out the voices
inside of

our heads, which
would tell us time passed and
these thoughts that would shine like soft lights