Artwork by Alex WalshChelsea Dingman

I reconsider the sea. How uncomfortable it makes me
that water might decide what breathes & doesn’t
breathe. How the shape of

water hides its cruelty. Unleashed, how it teaches me
I have no power here. I think of
a child we lost, as the sun lays

itself down. The sea, in repose. I think of you.
The year of hurricanes named for
women. How the sea threatened to break

walls. Glass windows. Limbs from live oaks.
How hurricanes skipped from southern town
to town, a child’s game. How we thought

we were spared. Outside, another child
stands in the sand, two thick legs
like scaffolding, a measure of quiet

progress between storms. Beside walls & windows
we’ve rebuilt., the sea’s calm, as it retreats
& returns, retreats & returns.


Chelsea Dingman continues her MFA and teaches in the University of South Florida graduate program. In 2016, her work can be found in Boxcar, Harpur Palate, The Adroit Journal, Grist: A Journal for Writers, Quiddity, Sou’wester, and The Raleigh Review, among others. She is originally from Western Canada. Her first book, Thaw, was a semifinalist for the Philip Levine Poetry Prize and Lexi Rudnitzky First Book Prize for Women. Visit her website: chelseadingman.com.

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