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Site design: Skeleton

Sample Poems by Brittney Corrigan



I'm trying to find a poem about Christmas that I actually like

but they are mostly dated and filled
with words like thine and o'er and behold.

And yes, I do want something about the snow,
and the light as it falls on the snow,

but I could do without the angels today,
or anything unreachable that's supposed to be

looking out for us down here. And yes, I do
want something about the trees, both outside

and inside, and about the singing, and about
the laying out of the table, or the looping

of ribbons, or the tucking in of children. But
I'm wishing we could leave God out of it.

It's not God's job to hang out with us right now
and fix things. I want something that uses

filling stockings as a metaphor for choosing
small kindnesses to tuck into each person's

heart. Something that reminds us that the horse
knows the way, so if we could just find that horse

and hold on, we'll come out of all this ok.
Something that, yes, is filled with the glistening
and the sparkling and all things aglow, because
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky-

Yes, that's the kind of thing I want, all of us

outrunning the storm that's pushing us out of the year,
and we're climbing right over the tired pile of reindeer

to what's really up there for us. The snow coming
down. The way we shape it with our hands and throw.

After the first year of Donald Trump's presidency in 2017.




Weight

When the news is too heavy, spaded
by shovelfuls into our hearts, our joy
overwhelmed, having only a dented
bucket to bail us out, we click instead
on the link to name the baby elephant
at the zoo. She has hopeful options.
Words that mean joy in other languages,
spoken in places dusted up by her kin.
Names that capture the size of her eyes
and their wonder, or the furry pink swaths
of her skin. Names that forget all the wrongs
done to her brethren. Names that make her
more whole. We want to choose all of them,
rain names down upon her like the frolicking
spray of her mother's custodial trunk.
We want to see ourselves in her golden eyes.
We want to lie down before her, rest our sad
and unworthy heads at her enormous feet,
tell her please, please weigh upon us. She who
has trusted us with her naming, we whose
hearts are so small and quick to beat.

After the contest to name the new baby elephant at the Oregon Zoo, born on November 30, 2012. Sadly, baby Lily died suddenly on November 29, 2018, the night before her sixth birthday.


My Daughter Is an Acorn

At nine years old she walks
with her best friend. Each
with her umbrella, each
with her markered sign, each
cautious of crossing over where
the two sides of the drawbridge
meet. My daughter leans into
her friend, her kitten-eared
head touching her friend's
braided one. Below us,
the waterfront spreads
with rain-soaked people; all
the bridges teem and span.
I keep my daughter in my
sights-she and her friend
two hearts in the crowd, two
hearts before me, two small
hearts in the acorn shells
of girlhood. I can almost see
the leaves unfolding
from their limbs. When
they tippy-toe to look
over the press of humans,
it's the forest I see-from
the understory of these girls'
bodies, these saplings, these
already mighty trees.

After the Women's March in Portland, Oregon on January 21, 2017.


Astrosisters

On the Earth that passes beneath, leaves brighten,
nova-like, in the cooling air, and young girls ready

their costumes for Halloween. Growing bones step into
flight suits with embroidered names, transparent globes

frame buoyant faces freckled with stars. Miles above,
two women navigate the Space Station in weightless

calm, their voices tethered to the woman in Mission
Control who talks them through each task, each

measured step to power the solar arrays. Like the pace
of this spacewalk, we have come to this moment

slowly: when the women do their work in the universe
and their male crewmates look out through the glass.

As the astrosisters climb their way back into the airlock,
Girl Scout troops are rapt with attention, teenage girls

in physics class follow the live stream on the miracles
of tiny screens in their palms, and the little daughters

not yet in school watch as the hatch door opens. And
where once there was darkness, now there is infinite space.

After the first all-female spacewalk outside of the International Space Station on
October 18, 2019.