Kulning | Brittney Corrigan

2 mins read

The sound is a woman standing in the pleats 
of the mountain’s summer skirts, her throat 

haunted by sister-elders calling back
a hundred seasons, a hundred more. 

Each morning, the cows vanish into rocky folds.
Days of brooms and needlework and cheese.

There are no men, and the women can be
tender and loud. The spine of cliffs shivers, 

amplifies the lilting spell. The women call
to each other, call to their hearkening herds. 

The women are loud. The children must
cover their ears as they stand at the source. 

There are wolves, but the wolves know
the meaning of songs that carry for miles. 

There are bears, but they only lift their
heads and sway. The lynx swivel

their tufted ears and spindle back the way
they came. The women are loud, and 

the wayfaring cattle trundle their gentle
bodies home, bells a tin echo twined

in each lyricless phrase. The forest darkens,
and the kine accumulate like summoned 

ghosts. The women’s voices ornament
the alpine air. The women are loud. 

Their voices toll and toll. The mountains
swell and cower with the sound. 

Brittney Corrigan was raised in Colorado but has called Portland, Oregon her home since 1990. She holds a degree from Reed College, where she is also employed. Brittney’s poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and she is the author of the collection Navigation (The Habit of Rainy Nights Press) and the chapbook 40 Weeks (Finishing Line Press). Her newest collection, Daughters, a series of persona poems in the voices of daughters of various characters from folklore, mythology, and popular culture, is forthcoming from Airlie Press in 2021. For more information, visit Brittney’s website: http://brittneycorrigan.com/.