British Columbia Pastoral
Accident Report: After the Baby Dies at Birth
Travelling Through Tennessee in January
Hunger [or the last of the daughter-hymns] (n) a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat— as I talk to wind winnowing my ribs into wind chimes. I swallow small coins from the counters, wanting change my body can keep. I stand on the street corner in the rain & coax water into my mouth like a woman who doesn’t know the fullness of the sea. My mother worked three jobs to feed our family. Now, I horde toilet paper & paper towels in spare closets with cans of soup & creamed corn. The wind hollows the oaks. Their bones don’t know what it is to break, but I am a hollow instrument, a sacred text. Daughter [less]. (v) have a strong desire or craving for a body inside my body— a child, a man. Fields, full. The sun, aflame. Fear like a shot -gun, an aborted flight plan, people jumping from buildings. But my daughter, I draw back down. The one I lost. The ones I have left to lose. Like snow— the bodies that are ours for a season. For less. (v) to feel or suffer through lack of food the weak sunrise in my daughter’s new silence. My skin, a loose sheet. Her clavicle, hip -bone, head. My cervix, thinned. Her body, an offering. A prayer I whisper as I tear new maps in a lucid dream where I live alone & she folds herself into a crane to hang from the ceiling of someone else’s womb. Originally published in Sycamore Review
Near Narajiv Selo -Hunger, cold, and ethnic oppression forced Ukrainian and Jewish people to look for refuge in faraway lands (1919-1939, when Eastern Galicia belonged to Poland)- Roman Zakhariy A dark road. Stars like paper lanterns. Long grasses unthread in thousands of flickering fingers. Poppies’ mouths buttoned black, as wind shrifts crimson petals from stems, from fields torn by tractor tires, from a barn below the hill. My stomach, where I left things unliving, pierced by little more than night air. Like shackled light, the moon is outlawed in the pines. I unholster the sky: at dawn, cattle cry in the clearing as I dig up rutabaga, cabbage to wrap the rice. Water claws through dirt. Claw hammers for hands, I carve our breaths into trees. Our breaths, like silver buildings. As I slowly empty the earth, sky buries night. Night that smells of gunpowder and grease. Night that leaves nothing more than a handful of stars, twined in the pines’ rime. Nothing more than a river where no one has drowned. Originally published in Southern Humanities Review
|Chelsea Dingman’s first book, Thaw, was chosen by Allison Joseph to win the National Poetry Series (University of Georgia Press, 2017). In 2016-17, she also won The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Prize, The Sycamore Review’s Wabash Prize, and Water-stone Review’s Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize. Her work can be found in Ninth Letter, The Colorado Review, Mid-American Review, Cincinnati Review, and Gulf Coast, among others. Visit her website.|
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