This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Daughters by Brittney Corrigan, released by Airlie Press in 2021.
You want to believe in the bulk and brown of him reeling through the thicket, that flash you thought you saw, the eyes that spun. You want terror to walk beside you, you want the wild rush of escape, you want the story. You want to be alone with your fear, all of it true, your heart loud like a woodpecker striking the trees that seem no longer peaceful, but sentient and poised to uproot. That cry in the woods that swallows all other sound. But listen. What I want you to hear is birdsong, the lifting that comes from such beauty, the way the trills and warbles sift through the stalling rain, alight on the ghosts of our breath, congregate and hover as the forest hums. My father, he is fine-furred and tawny, eyes green as fiddlehead ferns. Tangled and swift with his stories, his laughter sweeps through the undergrowth, bends you aside. I place my small footprints in his footprints, leave you stunned. If you watch the edges of his heart gentle forth through his body, soft and blurred and glowing, will you change your mind about the monster? Witness the glisten and tremble, the moon gazing down on the pause of the lake. Like that, the dark not so complete. My father, I ride on his shoulders, bring the sky down with my singing, fill your chest with a joy you can’t explain. We can make you believe what you saw in the woods is something fierce and secret. The story of your own longing, but not yours to claim.
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