The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Gold Hill Family Audio by Corrie Lynn White

This selection, chosen by guest editor Alyse Bensel, is from Gold Hill Family Audio by Corrie Lynn White, released by Southeast Missouri State University Press in 2022.

Instead of Having Kids

I clog on a quarter-inch piece of plywood
at Slick’s fiddle circle on Wednesday nights.
Instead of suffering raw nipples,

I strap on swimming goggles and make soap,
stir lye into a steel pot and run outside
to shovel the valley’s air into my mouth.

In my Civic, I cross Roan Mountain
and describe the silver hill I chase to the teacher
across the hall. The silver is hoar frost, he says,

frozen fog clinging to trees. Instead of watching
the baby’s eyes shift from gray to blue,
we hike to the Walls of Jericho,

step inside a January creek, hide inside
a dead hollow tree and crawl under
a cemetery’s barbed wire.

My friends with babies sing more than ever.
I ask them how quiet the old self becomes—
the self before the child. My sister gets jealous

on Christmas Day when I zip my coat
and walk outside without children running after
to zip-up and carry. The rare sun out,

I only want the North Sea and Roker Pier.
Whichever path you don’t choose
gets lodged somewhere in your throat.

Corrie Lynn White is the author of Gold Hill Family Audio (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2022). A 2021 Tennessee Arts Commission Fellow in Poetry, she is the recipient of the 2013 Amon Liner Poetry Award from the Greensboro Review. Originally from Gold Hill, North Carolina, White currently lives in Chattanooga.

Alyse Bensel is the author of Rare Wondrous Things: A Poetic Biography of Maria Sibylla Merian (Green Writers Press, 2020) and three chapbooks. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly ReviewCream City ReviewSouth Dakota Review, and West Branch. She serves as Poetry Editor for Cherry Tree and teaches at Brevard College, where she directs the Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference. 

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