a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Brittney Corrigan


Anthropocene Blessing: Snow Leopard

May the trail camera, perched
amid the Himalayan peaks,
capture only your haunches,
the ruddering twitch and sway
of your rosetted tail, as you
yellow the snow in a warding
spray of piss. May your kind
multiply and elude us,
accomplished in this game
of hide and seek, so thoroughly,
and for so long, that we leave off
our counting, abandon even
our calls of here we come.


Anthropocene Blessing: Monarch Butterfly

Milkweed, common tiger, wanderer.
You of the poison-filled body,
citrine hues of your wings framed
in obsidian—flutter of stained-glass
membranes alighting on asters, thistles,
goldenrod. May your banded
instars devour their white-sapped
hosts: antelopehorn, heartleaf,
woolly, whorled. May you find
on your long migration every
waystation, each garden clumsily
raised by human hands. May you
overwinter free of herbicides
from our modified, resistant crops.
May you not fly headlong into
our windshields and grilles. May
your singular, pearly eggs shelter
on the undersides of soft-furred
leaves, survive to pupate, j-hang,
shed their chrysalis-revealing
skins. May your metamorphosis
be a lesson for we who are slow
to change. We who cannot
seem to figure how to create
something beautiful from
the dissolution we have made.


New Year’s Eve in the Anthropause

Let us stay home with our sparklers and our peaceful dogs.

Let us watch the ball drop in a quiet, empty square.

 

Let the geese stroll on the tarmac. Let no machines take wing.

Let the wild turkeys strut and assemble in Harvard Yard.

 

Let us stay home with uncorked bottles and cats on our laps.

Let us wave to each other from our individual screens.

 

Let the Japanese sika deer walk Nara’s templed streets.

Let the wild boar ramble through towns in Italy and Spain.

 

Let us stay home with our slow-cooked black-eyed peas.

Let us binge on TV, watch movies with our gangly teens.

 

Let the pumas roam in Santiago, the jackals in Tel Aviv.

Let the whales sing in unboated waters, the birds in noiseless air.

 

Let us stay home with unraveling marriages, with dispirited kids.

Let us put our exhaustion to bed early. Tuck in our worries and fears.

 

Let us turn out the lights, let the loggerhead turtles come ashore.

Let us sleep in this world of our making. Let us rise and remake.

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Brittney Corrigan is the author of the poetry collections Daughters, Breaking, Navigation, and 40 Weeks. Solastalgia, a collection of poems about climate change, extinction, and the Anthropocene Age, is forthcoming from JackLeg Press in 2022. 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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