Field Clearing, After the Wedding

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.

Fincastle, Virginia: 1808

When trees cast their shadows
in a long line, their gathered shade

brushing the nearest tree’s trunk
& branches, they may be cleared

in a single roiling wave. Cuts
must be well-placed. The wedged

mouth of the notch determines
direction of fall, heartwood collapsing

against itself upon vacant space
until the hinge tears, & the first tree

goes, forcing down the next,
& the next’s deep weight dragging

under its neighbor like drowning men,
all husked & stripped, limbs

like severed things, heart bucked into
pieces inside the flesh’s splintered calm.