"The Thief Greater Than His Loot," Frederick Sommer,1955

“The Thief Greater Than His Loot,” Frederick Sommer,1955

J. Bailey Hutchinson

Jefferey & Jr. Skinning a Deer

He ritualed your red away from you,
pinched carefully out the buck shot
between that meatful stretch of thumb
and chisel.
Barrel-packed your parts.
He is: thick legged, unceremonious.
He is: full as any man can be,
rashless round cheeks, blood-knuckled gloves,
flanked by a shard
of his own making.

Jr. fits razor-shouldered into the thick give of hip there,
his eyes softly recessed, softly
pushed in as if by night mouths,
soft sleepy eyes. His boots gulp.
Who can say the smell of that night
but him—the steamed deer bone,
the spice of waiting father and bottle glass in autumn,
the wet all-brown underfoot.

And how, great cage, you stand aside,
ripped naked as a prayer
and knees unsheathed
by these;
though you boast of rooted toe,
you are a cold
and vacant bridge.


Living Alone
after Denise Levertov


When I wake, it is for no one’s hunger
but my own & the bird and the toast are precisely what
I tell them to be. If that is bullfinch and burnt
then so.

I have learned to take an egg
all morning: sup the yolk a while, yarn
hours of its soup. Listen
to the dog-and-boot
chatter by my window. Never-
mind my herbs.

If I compound the kettle
with too much tea,
no one speaks.

Not I. Not the bent dill.


Winter becomes a hummock of locust
& ladybird by my window.
I have never been alone
in January.

I think this is what a body seeks
in dying: mountains of other bodies.
I inside, with my egg or bread,
watch the small city breed
in the frail shade of a caraway.

Ladybirds peach-pale & sick
tunnel through black diagrams
of wing; touching my window
flush with this structure,

I note its warmth.


When the sun carols against my wall,
it is the sun’s wall. When the egg ruptures
in my sink, it is the sink’s egg—or the egg’s
sink. When the toast collapses
in my lap, I am the toast’s
me. Alone & ownless

descends in certain ways. I drink tea
as a newt might tongue dew;
I sleep on the floor;
I demand bullfinch, but
she is not always home. Haint-blue
the breakfast table.

J. Bailey Hutchinson born in and haunted by Memphis, Tennessee, has been featured in BIG LUCKS and Beecher’s Magazine. She is currently pursuing her MFA at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.