The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Daughters by Brittney Corrigan

This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Daughters by Brittney Corrigan, released by Airlie Press in 2021.

Ghost Hunters’ Daughter

Don’t ask me if it’s true, if they exist.
I’m not sure how to tell you what it’s like
in the shadows of each house,
the other hum beneath the appliance hum,
the way the walls lean in at me,
the vibration everywhere I put my feet.

Mostly I like to stand still, listen
to the clicks and knocks as my father
adjusts the knobs, holds the padded
headphones tightly to his ears. I watch
my mother sway with her eyes fluttered
shut, her fingers gathering the air.

My father sees in green, sifts through
the static, rounds corners with his lens,
his metered tools. He walks right into cellars,
basements, attics, untouched rooms, his eyes
on the pull of the needle, the digital rise
and fall. Right past as I inhabit doorways,

press through the paneling and lathe.
Sometimes I blow a kiss to my mother, send
it out as a cool, spectral puff across the hallway
to her ashen cheek. Or reach my lucent fingers
up to pull at the hem of her blouse, encircle her legs
with my body as she balances in the dark.

They are always looking for the others:
the ones who throw spoons or creak
floorboards, nudge faucets or upend chairs.
The ones who lift children from knotted
bedclothes, whisper in sonar-ping echoes,
frighten by putting on their fiendish skins.

My parents bottle and banish, exorcise and incant.
Smudge and cleanse and burn and cast away.
I hide in far corners, latch onto the screens
of windows, so they won’t send me over, too.
I want to stay where the electric air surrounds us.
Where the light doesn’t flicker and call.

Brittney Corrigan is the author of the poetry collections Daughters, Breaking, Navigation, and 40 WeeksSolastalgia, a collection of poems about climate change, extinction, and the Anthropocene Age, is forthcoming from JackLeg Press in 2023. Brittney was raised in Colorado and has lived in Portland, Oregon for the past three decades, where she is an alumna and employee of Reed College. She is currently at work on her first short story collection.


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