Brittney Corrigan

Scheherazade and Penelope Compare Notes

I don’t understand how you do it. Penelope is staring
at the work she’s undone, unraveled and coiled

like a snake at her feet. You always invent something
new. Your mind is bottomless
. Scheherazade shakes

her head, puts an arm around her friend. I don’t
understand how you do it, either
, she says. All that

beauty unwoven, your creation lost over and over
. Penelope’s fingers are raw, wrapped in small

ribbons of linen to staunch the blood. What if our
lives were our own?
she asks, leaning her head

on the storyteller’s shoulder. What if we were
goddesses and not shipwrecked here among men?

Scheherazade runs her hands over Penelope’s
loom, curls her fingers around the dangling threads.

We are goddesses, she says, smoothing the intricate
cloth of the shroud. Listen as I tell how this will end.

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 2023. 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. For more information, visit