Hailey Leithauser

Rondeau and Song
September 23, 2023 Leithauser Hailey



She would have yawned to see a Pharaoh’s fall,
and made a back-scratch of a panther’s claw.
She could have buttered up a slippery slope
or swiveled back the heads of heliotrope.
I saw her bathe once with a white macaw.


I heard she coaxed a Pygmy to grow tall,
and O, the planets she spun in Nepal.
If nudged to double-dutch a hangman’s rope
she would have.


She could teach winds to sing and tides to draw;
she was my burning deck, my best last straw.
I never strove to own or hoped to hope
but watched her skirr the depths of telescopes.
If asked for half, I would have given all.
She would have yawned to see a Pharaoh’s fall.





Gold Summer, bring laziness to my girl.
Bring her eyelids the dark weight of worlds,
her legs the lassitude of failed legions
winding down mountains, her hands the fatigue
of bird flocks a dry continent from their home.
Make her thoughts as torpid as rivers
choked pale with lilies. Let her mind
know stupor, let her dream of bees
puttering in lavender musk, let her hear
from her work window the languor of old doves.
Let her keys drop in porch shadows, her car
settle into gravel wavy with the heat of bared suns.
Bring indolence to my girl. Dally her sweat-sweet,
lazing and tarried beneath white, new sheets.

Hailey Leithauser has work forthcoming  in 32 Poems., Agni, Alaska Quarterly Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Literary Matters, Revel (inaugural issue this fall) and an anthology of poems about mushrooms called “Medecine for Minds and Hearts”, for which she accomplished a long-term goal of writing about the Corpse Finder Mushroom.