What I Want of This World

by Chelsea Dingman

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.