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"Frostbite"

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
scald

and hissing of the snow.

—Poetry, December 2009

Hailey Leithauser is the recipient of the Discovery/The Nation Prize, and an Individual Artist’s Grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. In 2012, Leithauser's book, Swoop, won the Poetry Foundation's Emily Dickinson First Book Award and is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in October 2013.