Snow Fugue

A mournful voice sings to quick beats
in my head, but I know nothing of heaven. In a frenzy

of whirling wind, headlights on a white wall, I pull
over the truck. Late April & the sky has broken
its neck. I swear I see faces pass the windshield. The howl

of voices I’ve forgotten in the cracks of the doors. Whistling
through windows. I close my eyes & count

their bones. Wonder if this is the dream where children are
buried. Why each move towards home takes me
further away. The cab rocks & creaks. When I open

my eyes, every tree is erased, Every stone & bird & gravel
road. Stepping outside, I lean into snow, wanting

to be lost again. To know that kind of violence. How cold needles
the insides of my nostrils. My mother, in a ragged babushka,
bent over Rohatyn’s fields. How I began in a place I can’t find

with my hands. Now, how not to welcome the snow’s blades,
a torn blood vessel, the fire in my fists. How when wings plume

on cold a spring morning, I am blinded instead.
But, I whisper even though there is no one
to hear. Even as I wonder who’s talking, —who I hold

so tightly inside. Like a hummingbird, before
it flies out of my throat & falls

to the ground. Before I palm its heart
& find it still beating.


From What Bodies Have I Moved (Madhouse Press, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Chelsea Dingman. Used with the permission of the author.