By Hailey Leithauser b. 1954 Hailey Leithauser
Less a nip than gnaw,
the way a goat,

tethered, will ruminate
a rope; the way

each in extremis tip
of ear and nose

unbuds, or snail-
like toe, curled

dreamily, lets
go too fat a foot,

cinching filament
and tendril, pinch

by stony pinch
until the pulse exhausts

and flickers down
to drowse and numb,

the sleep so close,
so old, so mild

inside the placid

and hissing of the snow.

Source: Poetry (December 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2009
 Hailey  Leithauser


Poet Hailey Leithauser was born in Baltimore and raised in Maryland and Central Florida. Leithauser 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, DC. Returning to writing after a break of several decades, her work has appeared widely, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Winter

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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