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.

Minotaur’s Daughter

My mother’s inner compass never
falters. If the king had known her
gift for navigation, he might have
set her to a fitting task. But beauty
veils from men the truest center,
and so he sent her in to be devoured.

Fear was a thing my mother cast
before her like torchlight: the walls
were but quarry stones, ordinary
and smooth. The smell of the bull:
familiar as her farm. Just another
earthy beast to feed and tend.

So when my father’s breath fired beside
her as she stepped within the labyrinth’s
heart, my mother simply offered up
her palm, like an apple to a horse.
She gentled his horns, bowed his
startled head, and laid her brow to his.

Violence makes of the world a maze.
Consider my grandfather, the white
bull. How his life was spared from
sacrifice. Consider my grandmother,
cursed with unnatural love. And their
beast-child, consumed with hunger.

In every civil man hides a beast.
In every maddened beast sleeps
the heart of a child. My monstrous
father cradled me with kindly arms,
tucked the softness of my curls
against the coarse hairs of his chest.

Now from the labyrinth’s center
we watch the architect’s son fall
back to earth, waxy feathers dropping
away from the sun. Even the sky
is a cage. My mother maps us to her.
She knows the way out, but won’t say.

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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