» Poetry

Christmas Eve

A small tree leans against a wall. The windows, frozen over

lakes. There is no sky. Day and night.


Somewhere, grief is a place

no one is dying from. Heavy organ music. A cathedral, hymning the half-dark.


If you know anything, it is that a child dies at least once

in childhood.


You remember snow. Its quiet. How no one came.


How time can make small that which is no longer small.


Still. Imagine it is just another night. A cocktail and a cigarette in hand. A friend

saying, take care, before putting on a coat and getting in a cab. The snow, flitting

under streetlights. The moon laid across the lake by the park.


Imagine a life that you wanted to be yours. How you asked

to deserve it. Blue oars. A boat on a lake clear as harm.


Imagine some forever no one has named

heaven. Where loneliness is a mask

one is forgiven when it is taken off.


The last thing said or not said. Its sudden importance.


And all is blue. Day and night.

And all is blue. Day and night.




Chelsea Dingman


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 (University of Georgia Press, 2020). Her third collection, I, Divided, is forthcoming from Louisiana State University Press in 2023. She is also the author of the chapbook, What Bodies Have I Moved (Madhouse Press, 2018).