with lines by Christian Wiman


It was always all aftermath, your life.
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiRiven now,

iiiiiiiiiiiiiand too close to your voice still
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiI feel. Mad

-den the missing gods tonight. There are too many, and we are
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitoo seldom

responsible. What is it that Levinas
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiisaid? We are each

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiresponsible for the other. The tumor, the lack
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiof sight in the sky’s one good

eye. The dead are pages
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiunfilled with words, end-stopped instead of god

-stopped. What does it mean to have lost
someone? That you might be found? In that lacuna,

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiI sat next to you the last fall
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiithat a child died inside me. Silence ate

iiiiiiiiiiithe fat from the hours
until even time was skeletal. You listened,

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiithat I might let
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimy grief speak. In the hauntology of language:

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilove is not a memory
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiof light falling, but the oak’s sprawl

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiithat the light falls through
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiias though pain

might pass
as scripture. You sat next to me

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiias the light drew your shadow
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin the past. Now, I sit inside your silence

iiiiiiiiiiiknowing I invented it
when I wrote to you that last time

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin hospice. The only answer, my own

pulse. In the intervention of midnight
rain and that midnight

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiifor which there is no cure,
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiI see your voice

in the sodden fields
iiiiiiiiiiiof my mind. I want to ask if worship

is that music in the water
your body was—

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiithe ash that floats there
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitrying to get back

iiiiiiiiiiito fire. Who gets to be whole
here? Or hereafter? What we will become is that date

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiithat holds our deaths. Fields of loss
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidrowned in us. I

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiwant to be anywhere
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit is not too late

now. In the hard grasses, an ache
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiibelongs to the blades

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiibeaten by rain and wind
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiuntil they are water. Though water

can’t be held. Though I knew you
iiiiiiiiiiionce, not as I remember

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiyou. It is love I must forgive
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiialong with the goldenrod

and the god my mother rented
in a hard year

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiand the wolf
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimoon and the pretense of happiness

my brother finds in the white
powder he can’t put down

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiand the arrest that follows
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiithe protest of the heart against all this wetness

iiiiiiiiiiithat is breath. That is the distance
iiiiiiiiiiibetween two hands. You gave me a poem

once. You said save yourself. It was dark
for thousands of days. No one slept

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin the silence of birds. The past went on.
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiWe lived in the long intolerable called God.



Chelsea Dingman