Chelsea Dingman

After Fleeing a War in the Second Wave


You ask me how I betrayed my country
by felling the sun. By covering my eyes
when darkness came like crows
wearing peasant capes. When my skin fell

to ruin: ribs, racked & ashen. When my cheeks rose
like stone mountains after a flood
& I failed to stay behind. To fight
with empty chambers, only Rohatyn’s cold

wind to fill my stomach. No ruler to undress
the sky. But there is failure in fleeing.
Like a sparrow, to sift
through beer bottles, crumpled paper,

cigarette packs in a city park in Vancouver
instead of Lviv. For wanting a fetus, jarred
in your womb. The umbilical cord’s
white tendrils floating up to find

their own answers. For forgetting my mother’s
rosary, its beaded chain & cross
tattering a wrist. These prayers
that never leave us. By pulling my feet