About the Feature

Photo by Marcus Kwan

I elegy. This bright morning unsayable
as the sentence of the woman who died
in daylight as her children climbed her still
body in a hospital bed. She left video
messages behind. They cry now, & I feel
the cells under my arms tighten with ghost
-milk. I feel my breasts for cysts
that have spread into a map of the next
world. Will I live a long life, is all I asked.
No one answered. I used to scream
into the woods behind my house. After
my father died. As my mother felt her cancer
spread. No one looked me in the eye.
No trace of the stars in the morning
sky, the mind still hungers the problem.
The finite night has flown from the pines.
The wind, arguing for centuries with the trees,
is elsewhere. Amazed at the hawk’s dive.
Unsure what my body is built for, I starling.
I blacken the edges of snow. I let
my children down, starlight on my tongue.
The cells like dark stars refuse to die
on my left side. The last biopsy was
elegy. Unsayable is what I can imagine.

About the Author

Chelsea Dingman’s first book, Thaw, was chosen by Allison Joseph to win the National Poetry Series (University of Georgia Press, 2017). Her second poetry collection, Through a Small Ghost, won the Georgia Poetry Prize and is forthcoming from the University of Georgia Press (2020). Visit her website: chelseadingman.com