I’ve dug up my brother
and propped him against my shoulder,
his weight like a sagged-bag of dog food.
He tells me that he is the vehicle
and the medium, he says now you cannot forget.
His eyes are stale carnations,
jaw unhinged like a life-sized marionette.
And the maggots speak,
they travel in and out of his mouth
PRAISE FOR THE DERELICT DAUGHTER
“The Derelict Daughter grabbed me by the throat in the first three lines: ‘I’ve dug up my brother / and propped him against my shoulder, / his weight like a sagged-bag of dog food.’ This collection sizzles and sparks, electric with grief and violence, charged with a brother’s suicide, a father’s death, a mother’s unraveling. Here the past is like a too-real dream that won’t end, but the poems are so gorgeous, despite the darkness, I have to admit: I didn’t want to wake from it.”
— MAGGIE SMITH
“Brittney Scott’s debut poetry collection is exceptional: brave, ferocious, and smart. Very, very smart. ‘Often I am already dead, the dying already over,’ she says in ‘The Weather of Dreams.’ These poems convince us that she is telling the truth. At the same time, her ways of unifying a poem are sophisticated and inventive. I read many collections each year but I have never read one as full of feeling or as smart about feeling as The Derelict Daughter, who is derelict only in that she saves herself. She is a brilliant new voice and we need to listen to it.”
— KELLY CHERRY
“The poems in Brittney Scott’s first collection, The Derelict Daughter, are thick with the ancient work of witnessing, the depths of emotion seemingly endless. Here love, fury, grief, grit, and tenderness cohabitate in a landscape of trailers, bedrooms, juvenile detention centers, roadside ditches, sex, the body, and the woods, all entwined by the deep ecology of Scott’s attention, her speaking up and in and through and out in sentences that are bold, textured, and fraught with a celestial grunge of registers in which abandonment is ceaselessly confronted. ‘I live inside my brother’s death,’ Scott writes in one poem. ‘Absence is the only real color,’ she writes elsewhere. This color and this living, so very present throughout Scott’s debut book, sent multiple shivers through my neck and spine. Read it, read it again, and then share it with your friends.”
— THORPE MOECKEL