Chelsea Dingman

                        After Lisa Fay Coutley

When I say it started with power

lines that were buried

below ground, I mean the children

I want are missing. They can’t be seen

without a microscope, yet even the shower

drain needs a respite from blood. I mean

the body is a basin I empty & empty

of birds. The word woman is stolen

from wife, not womb. See: to own;

to be owned. God only knows what I own

if nothing inside my body can be trusted.

The man I love lies inside the dark bend

between my past & future, where I’ve lived

as the city a thousand stoplights ago.

When I say I’ve been happy, I mean there

are some heroics I can muster

& marriage might not be one of them. Somehow,

every city looks habitable in hindsight. Like winter,

as it squares off against time again

tonight. When I say I blame myself, I mean

the wind will not be held. I mean the wind chimes

silver with hurt. I mean I love what I can’t have

as I love anything — full of greed, yet

unsteadily. See: the scattered horizon

of my heart. The flightless trees,

unbodied after the fall.


about the author