Like you, I am built out of sky:
light & air I use to mend
the bones I owned before your body roamed
free & I made of myself this silence
large enough to multiply
in my womb where our daughter
died when I was afraid to be touched
by water or anything else. She was pretty,
wasn’t she? Our daughter, not your excuse
for vanishing. Her ribs, like folded wings.
I should’ve known faith is like a father.
Here. Not here. You are like the god
I called when the cramps came. You raise
the forests where sacrifices are the trees.
Not a baby. Not human need. I, myself, am
alien now. Something not quite realized.
A sentence missing its verbs. The blue
-bellied birds are back at the door, the sky
burned from their feathers. In the fields
of my body, a pond. So I may know
how to be full when consequence is a sea
-son. The sky refusing rain. The months
we’ve pretended to know ourselves.
But what is grief? A noun we can’t hold
with our hands? A Hallelujah? o ghost,
o mother-grave—, Hallelujah.
Chelsea Dingman is a Canadian citizen and Instructor at the University of South Florida. Her first book, Thaw, won the National Poetry Series and is forthcoming from the University of Georgia Press (2017). She has work forthcoming in The Sycamore Review (Winner of the Wabash Prize), The Southeast Review (Winner of the Gearhart Poetry Contest), Southern Humanities Review (Finalist for the Auburn Witness Prize), Arcadia (Finalist for the Dead Bison Editor’s Prize), Ninth Letter, Colorado Review, Mid-American Review, and Gulf Coast, among others.