Katy Lederer


The Business


Let us stop this fraught analysis and get on with the business.

To walk through pristine hallways and observe the little fingers go.

They click and clack, they click and clack.

The sad little faces, like clowns'.

The reason that a person would sit down as if to pray

And then just type the mystic day away—

These white walls,

These blue windows.

In some weather, gray.

What this freedom, this river, this emerald-green flow?

Why are we laughing now,

We can’t let go?

Why are we laughing now?




An Animal


Black, derogatory.

How. How. How.

And why.

A feeling. Pen it in.

To form it, to make it a subject, a nugget, to pen the monstrosity in.

To take a metaphor from daily life of what none of us knows—

To make a shape of it, imagine it,

To make of it

A thing.

To want very badly to pen the thing in.

Make it stay,

Like an animal,





If We Settle, Then, Our Due Account


I am thinking of the way things were, this harness in my hand, this brush and gun.

I am thinking of the way things were, this reference: black, this love begun.

Within its head, a tiny book.

A register, a rusted key.

To think of the myriad ways that we live is to think of the ways that we die:

Delinquent in our brains, in debt—

If we settle, then, our due account and walk through the forest,

Will we finally be free?

I am walking through the forest and a man walks up to greet me.

Within his eyes are two gray books.

I open them and read them.

Oh yes, I open them and read them,

I am such a fine librarian!




The Unseduced


Like a kettle, a lever, a lathe

I have used you.

To walk the long avenues,

Rings in the windows,

The casements like coffins

Or coins.

The dusk, an asylum,

The wind

In the spasming leaves—

We must count up

The dowry, Love,

The uxorious bounty

At the crux of our parting.