My chest is earth

I meant to write my chest is warm
but earth will do
                                      to exhume a heart


I meant to write

                        Did you know I was alive the whole time

I was alive in the ground but torpor

                    But torpor

Slowed beat

My chest filled like a jar with dirt

I mean


For slow months at rest in the hole

I’d made in myself

                    A frozen ground

      A ground in thaw

I mean

                    Spring is coming

I mean

                I push the wet dirt with my mandible

I mean jaw



I know I am not a nymph in exhumation

    but would you please explain

              this half-remembered light

Originally published in Sewanee Review, Fall 2017. Copyright © 2017 by Donika Kelly. Used with the permission of the poet.