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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.

Snow Fugue

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 cracks of the doors. Whistling
through windows. I close my eyes & count

their bones. Wonder if this is the dream where children are
buried. Why each move towards home takes me
further away. The cab rocks & creaks. When I open

my eyes, every tree is erased, Every stone & bird & gravel
road. Stepping outside, I lean into snow, wanting

to be lost again. To know that kind of violence. How cold needles
the insides of my nostrils. My mother, in a ragged babushka,
bent over Rohatyn’s fields. How I began in a place I can’t find

with my hands. Now, how not to welcome the snow’s blades,
a torn blood vessel, the fire in my fists. How when wings plume

on cold a spring morning, I am blinded instead.
But, I whisper even though there is no one
to hear. Even as I wonder who’s talking, —who I hold

so tightly inside. Like a hummingbird, before
it flies out of my throat & falls

to the ground. Before I palm its heart
& find it still beating.

From What Bodies Have I Moved (Madhouse Press, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Chelsea Dingman. Used with the permission of the author.

From What Bodies Have I Moved (Madhouse Press, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Chelsea Dingman. Used with the permission of the author.

Chelsea Dingman

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

by this poet

poem

that we might’ve been together 
at the union hall, with the beer

bottles and the night that didn’t fall
away? I might’ve saved you from

that car ride to the end of this calm

world. Would we have been happy?
The morning you died, I slept.

I got the kids up for school in the

poem

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

poem

                 “This is the only kingdom.
                 The kingdom of touching:
                 the touches of the disappearing, things.”
                                            —Aracelis Girmay