Leaning Towards Manifesto

Corrie Williamson Click to

williamson-pic-1Corrie Williamson is the author of Sweet Husk, which won the 2014 Perugia Press Prize and was a finalist for the Library of Virginia Poetry Award. She is currently at work on a manuscript of poems that travel between modern day Montana, where she lives, and early 19th century Fincastle, Virginia and St. Louis, Missouri, where they trace the voice and history of Julia Hancock Clark, the woman who married explorer William Clark and followed him west. Poems from this manuscript have recently appeared in AGNI, 32 Poems, Terrain.Org, Southern Humanities Review, Quarterly West, and other journals.

Audio recording of author reading “Leaning Towards Manifesto”
Composting is next to godliness.
– My father

Take your own advice: if Orpheus is in it
or vultures (the impulse there is the same:

skull picked clean by pain, mutilated
song, a dark hour circled, regret baring

poison-jeweled fangs) throw it out. If there
is cooking (like the one about the woman

stirring boiling polenta for two, stunned
by that volcanic hiss and bubble, its promise

that if she abandons attentiveness
the house will burn down) that becomes

a metaphor for love, throw it out. If
it is sentimental, overly lovely, throw it out.

(My guilt glows like the skin of the hornworm,
incandescent, spined, bright as the bolt

of lightning which tunes the horizon
with its silver tines.)  But our darlings

are delicate cats with many lives, and I
don’t buy into euthanasia. This is an age

that dies and revives. I know a single garlic
clove will live forever. I salvage and in lieu

of prayer I compost. I buy Ball jars. I root
cellar, I hoard, I shotgun. I’ll bury in the yard.