Fainting Couch Hailey Leithauser O sinking of silk! O padded brocade of personal feather! I say, let’s bring them back, the swans in the spine, I say who even knows how to sigh any more, how position a wrist to lie wilted and cool as a cloth on a forehead, I say where are those wan, vertiginous women of arsenic skin who rationed like diamonds the solacing oxygen; how like willows they were! How like bendable arrows, hysterical sachets, combustible marshmallows, I say let’s flush out the wrens in the lungs, the doves in the bloodstream; I’m too sturdy by half, I’m overdefended; a pillow would suit me, horsehair and velvet, bolster or stuporous lumbar, I say the plaint in my pelvis is a nimbus enveloped, a conga untested, say unbutton my bosom, I am open for business. Hailey Leithauser is the author of Swoop (Graywolf Press, 2013). She has recent or forthcoming work in 32 Poems, AGNI, Ecotone, the Hopkins Review, and the Yale Review. Fainting Couch appears in our Winter 2017 issue.