Thursday, 10 November 2016


by Leonore Hildebrandt

                                            To sing of Wars, of Captains, and of Kings,
                                            Of Cities founded, Common-wealths begun,
                                            For my mean Pen are too superior things;
                                            Or how they all, or each their dates have run…                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Anne Bradstreet (1650)

no books but the bible

unless my brother smuggles them
under his coat     ––Arabian Nights––
we hear that vinegar makes porcelain skin
chambered      we practice
the art of fainting     a deadly pallor     
fervent tremble
you lace up my neat little waist––
Scheherazade woos the Indian Sultan
and I too could win     his mercy

a husbands favors

her bodice

mined out from undergarments––
winnan      of Germanic origin:
to strive     contend     subdue      acquire
days are pockets     turncoat gifts
she lost a mile along the way
her property      stipulated
manly or unmanly
in marriage laws     favoring
he strapped his belt


to win her over

make her precious
delicately      unstable
merely a girl
a flickering
hysteria     forgoing


lost and fallen

for the market     spins them
pure-faced angels––
vices are acquired elsewhere down
in boarded streets
like key rings      threaded

to keep order


and pretty still
I rest in yellow light
my spheres obliquely
cast within      refracting––
a little walk
and now the winless spells
come easily
a hard      forgetting

into the air

young and precocious

she steals
into her fathers well-worth study
reads the forbidden novels––
to canter under lights
her ample dress draped sideways
one leg only      pressed
against the pony’s flank
with half-wrought messages
and yet her levelheaded poise––
a plain child    
prone to pale-faced fits
and nightmares––
father decrees      go stop the madness––
her dreams are wholly      winning
and exquisite


the sea today

has turned a windless flap
a rope-slack afterglow––
below the wind
a river grinds and carries sand
for seabeds
to subdue and take possession of
the woman question––
its granularity
below the heights      tumbling      revolving
as afternoon

carries on

* * * * *

"win-win" was first published in Mudlark Flash 70 (2012)

Leonore Hildebrandt is the author of The Work at Hand and The Next Unknown. She has published poems and translations in the Cafe Review, Cerise Press, the Cimarron Review, Denver Quarterly, Drunken Boat, The Fiddlehead, Poetry Daily, and Poetry Salzburg Review, among other journals. A native of Germany, Hildebrandt lives “off the grid” in Harrington, Maine. She teaches writing at the University of Maine and serves on the editorial board of the Beloit Poetry Journal.

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