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Hailey Leithauser

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Hailey Leithauser is the author of Swoop (Graywolf Press, 2013), winner of the Emily Dickinson First Book Award from the Poetry Foundation. She is also the recipient of the Discovery/The Nation Prize, an Individual Artist’s Grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, and the 2015 Towson Prize for Literature. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

by this poet

Wan oxymoron of a fish, dotted
dun and fledge winged, mud-feathered when
it glides through silt, by nature bottom fed.
Whoever named it named himself a man
of undisputed Christian eye,
who saw in mortal depths a guardian
and humblest trumpeter. God tongue to cry,
it haunts an
Fear streamlined to elegance
   and elegance made mute
within this skin of gunmetal
   and gash mouthed grin. Repute
would have the monster cruel—untrue—
   for mannerly cruelty
demands a heart, unwitnessed
   in its calm machinery.