Poetry: "Letter from the Gulf Coast" by Chelsea Dingman

Adrian Liang on March 30, 2017

Poetry-Chelsea DingmanOn the eve of National Poetry Month, we offer a brilliant poem by Chelsea Dingman to get you in the mood. "Letter from the Gulf Coast" was originally published in the Day One literary magazine.


Letter from the Gulf Coast

 by Chelsea Dingman


I could be someone who twists
the truth. I knew what I was asking

when I said Stay here with me. The walls
waved in your image, a storm

on the horizon, growing. Hurricanes
all have their own names & we earned ours, secret

triumphs locked away in other apartments, other
cities. It wasn’t having a house to tend that kept us

together. We weren’t supposed to stay anywhere
long. We paint different walls the same

stark white, but they dim & darken
to a dingy beige as we stand waiting

to see what skyline comes next.
Who doesn’t wake & want

to be somewhere different? Different
birds at the door. I still want your hands

on my hips. On my collar bones, arcing
towards you. A space we’re meant to dust

& darken. To wake in a different city, longing
for home. Where home is the curve of our hands

on the doorknobs. Where we know ourselves
by thunder & the smell of thick

rains. By the way rain tastes as it’s meant to
taste. Our mouths, upturned. Open.


Chelsea DingmanChelsea Dingman’s first book, Thaw, won the National Poetry Series and is forthcoming from the University of Georgia Press (2017). In 2016, she also won The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Prize, the Sycamore Review’s Wabash Prize, and was a finalist for the Auburn Witness Prize, Arcadia’s Dead Bison Editor’s Prize, Phoebe’s Greg Grummer Poetry Award, and Crab Orchard Review’s Student Awards. Her forthcoming work can be found in Mid-American Review, The Colorado Review, and Gulf Coast, among others. Visit her website: chelseadingman.com.

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