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.

Getting Clean

The body is honest in bath-water. 		Belly button is communion cup.
Submarine ears open to 		the smear of piano downstairs—
the creaky opening of stove. 		I almost smell my mother’s kitchen
and run to ask her: 		Can I lie down in your tomatoes and corn?
She loved the praising 		her mother never gave. I loved it, too,
wanted to say to her, 		Let’s run to the mirror and see if we’re beautiful!
But I had to leave that house, 		tiptoe off the deck’s rotting steps
until the horse-grazed knoll 		broke me open over its knee.
I wouldn’t go far in the grass 		before I found her inside me,
and the men’s voices inside of us 		speaking words like:
Blessed are the pretty and quiet. 		The wind itself whispered it
amongst the manure. 		Tonight, she isn’t here. The bath water is cold
where I sit whole, dripping, 		and ask what comes this way
but the swallow of an unplugged drain, 		the shiver of standing straight up.

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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