Hailey Leithauser


     ‘An entourage of slovenly blondes’

     –Jay Hopler

Slovenly blondes, mussed
and unbuttoned,
in feathering snow,
in ice-burst of spring,
in cloudless, unsparing summer –
slatternly, come!

Catchpenny, gaudy,
untethered by girdle,
in wind-shatter
storms of September,
in charring of fields –
torn-stocking, come!

loose-bosomed, huddled
at awnings, shadowing
in twilight’s first quiet
flicker of neon –

lush-frowsy, lax
and ambrosial, sidle
and steal in your undulant
plodding, pale
across lawns, dumb
as white ox

to your beauty,
for I’ve become
burdened and
wearied with hope
chests of linens
smoothed dull as

a snow bank,
hosiery, unsnagged
and untrammeled,
collars, tidy

sweaters that wait
each day to be
sullied, full bureaus
of blouses,
frail and unstained.

image: Jeanne Mammen, She Represents (Carnival Scene), c. 1928. Private collection, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017, Repro. Mathias Schormann