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About this poet

Chelsea Dingman is the author of Thaw (University of Georgia Press, 2017), which was selected by Allison Joseph as a winner of the National Poetry Series. She teaches at the University of South Florida and lives in Tampa, Florida.

Epistemology

What does it mean to say we know the properties
of ice, of snow? The wheat berries piled in metal bins

in the silos. The house on a corner lot, properly
broken down, the septic tank leaking

into the closets for years, rats in the attic, box
upon box upon box of belongings that belong

to the long dead. Sex toys and pornography.
Money stashed in old socks. In ties. In tobacco

tins. The house was once lovely. Flower boxes at the sills.
Large picture windows that held up the prairie

sky, faces of the parents we knew little, if at all.
How easily people end up like this, perhaps. We stand

at the tree line, and I can’t decide if Mother’s Ruin
is an appropriate name for gin, or screech,

or every century where someone died bleary-
eyed, a bottle within reach. How do we love

what is damaged? Ahead, the valley rivers through
the city. Ahead, the frozen prairie, the lone cross-

country skier. No one will find us here, I fear.
Here, the world is desperately bare. What now

is the prairie sky, if not another relic, burning?

Copyright © 2018 Chelsea Dingman. Reprinted with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Autumn 2018.

Copyright © 2018 Chelsea Dingman. Reprinted with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Autumn 2018.

Chelsea Dingman

Chelsea Dingman is the author of Thaw (University of Georgia Press, 2017). She lives in Tampa, Florida.

by this poet

poem
	Church of the Holy Spirit, Rohatyn 1924

You enter to escape
the cold & find a canvas of St. John,
                  his hands unsealed

to write. Other icons,
painted in vibrant reds, mounted
                  on wooden walls’ slick gloss. All white

men, suffering and suffered. Christ,
stripped.
poem

A mournful voice sings to quick beats
in my head, but I know nothing of heaven. In a frenzy

of whirling wind, headlights on a white wall, I pull
over the truck. Late April & the sky has broken
its neck. I swear I see faces pass the windshield. The howl

of voices I’ve forgotten in the

poem

Is this heaven? Hidden
highways. An avalanche. Nothing
around for miles to hear tires
leave the road. The mountains
bow, back-lit by white skies. I walk
& wonder if I walk for any reason
except to walk. My father,
drenched in drifting snow, was left
here. Yet I