What I Want of This World


The sky, purpling around me at dusk. Spanish moss screening the oaks as if ghosts had disrobed while we slept. Stillness from the dead grasses. A break from heat as Florida lies on her back, a wet rag over her mouth. Water, clean enough to drink. An end to this thirst. Days of rain. Days that know my skin, young enough not to thin. Days that know my child as both buzzard & bird. Days that know each bone she has broken in me. How she listened & never listened. For her to give & receive this earth, crumbling with the weight of the trees. To know how she might still hurt. What I want of this world is a child who still lives. Like the oak that breaks the sidewalk in the front yard with its roots now. How it reaches for purple sky & doesn’t move away.

CHELSEA DINGMAN is a MFA candidate at the University of South Florida. Her first book, Thaw, won the National Poetry Series (2016) and is forthcoming from the University of Georgia Press. In 2016, her work can be found in Washington Square, The Normal School, Phoebe, American Literary Review, The Adroit Journal, and Sugar House Review, among others. Visit her website: chelseadingman.com.