Chelsea Dingman



Mistakes I could’ve made                     fill the news tonight:

in an Iowa cornfield                            still with snow,

a couple goes to                              sleep. Drugs blur

the night,                                        the moon

-light, their lit bones.                       I imagine them

lying there like angels                       the woman

asking if the man                             believes heaven

is cold. The man’s mouth                 a frozen lake

where words drown                        without surfacing. In a room

in Florida                                        my husband enters

my body                                         faithless

in the dark.                                      I am cold & snow

-less. A martyr.                                I confess:

pills would be a painless way           to still my blood when I want

not to feel                                        the ghosts of

lives I’ve lost                                     veins & muscle

like memory palaces                              O ghosts—

we’re in the field                              together now. Wake me.




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: