Brittney Corrigan


On Telling My Nine-Year-Old Daughter that Hillary Won’t Be President



The fall of her face,
a snuffing, like
the last of daylight
slipping off
a mountainside,
a shadow rising up
from the cooling

That’s sad,
she says, while
I try to hold
my fear away
from her, casting
it carefully
behind me
like a rotten thing.

Disquiet pools
in her eyes, then
she says to me,
Mom, I think
there are a lot
of people out there
who don’t think
women are as good
as men.

And that’s when
it happens. My heart
cleaves inside
my chest, like one
of those chocolate
holiday oranges
you smack
until they split
and disassemble.

Honey, I say,
that’s true. Then
I gather the shards
up within me,
press them against
her body, her heart,
the longing uplift
of her chin. Honey,
I say, it’s up to us
to prove them

And she nods,
and she slides
into the morning,
walking away
from me into
the daylight,
and I catch
my tears
with my fingers,
fling them
out into the world
that’s failed her,
then stoke
my sorrow
until it flames.


Corrigan 2017

Brittney Corrigan is the author of the poetry collection Navigation and the chapbook 40 Weeks. Her poems have appeared widely in journals and anthologies, and she is the poetry editor for the online journal Hyperlexia: poetry and prose about the autism spectrum and a reader for the Timberline Review. Brittney lives in Portland, Oregon, where she is both an alumna and employee of Reed College. For more information, visit