Hey Siri, Cure My Postpartum Depression

Two poems by Chelsea Dingman

Hey Siri, Cure My Postpartum Depression

Dear Siri

My son says you’re listening so you might tell us
what we want. If so, I want to know
what is lost under my fingertips
besides home? And whether you understand
that I googled postpartum depression 
after the first year, & I’ve since been bombarded by ads
for crop tops, & pesticides, & sites that claim 
breastfeeding is best. What have the dandelions done
to harm anyone? And what can you do about two sides of any argument 
involving windows? Day or night, night or day. 
If breath is an argument against failure, what is love?
What is love? What is softness
when my brother is my jailor? When my brother is
my employer, & work is this toxic place 
I can’t escape in sleep. When I don’t sleep anymore. When 
my life is dependent on a man for money. What year is it? Can you remind me 
where the year went as I backslid into a ditch beside the highway
in freezing rain? I took a layoff. After I wasn’t refused
maternity leave, but it was insinuated that my job would not exist later 
if I took time off. Did you know? I saw the 6 tools to cure PPD 
& anxiety that you suggested. Of 5 tools, I am 
uncertain. But I am certain about trees.
How long they will remain after none of this
matters. My son has had a terrible year. He too
sat in a dark room. He was bullied. I’ve tried everything
to get him to come out. He likes basketball 
& bike rides. I can’t decide if the world is the reason
for unreason. Why I can’t get out of bed.
Why the body is imaginary after a baby.
Why I can’t hope. Or am I hormonal? I don’t know.
My son, too, has been hormonal. A teenager
now. The baby, a surprise. Could you not have 
let me know? Let me down. Let down your milk so I can hear
the baby cry from another room. Or did your milk fail
to come in too? I read about the baby formula
shortage on my feed. Before what befell any of us
was called an accident. I read about the accident
last night. The baby, the mother. The red barn 
lost in the field. What emerges from the shadow of another. How to see
with four sets of eyes? Or six? Do you know?
I gave birth three times. Sometimes, they all 
lived. Sometimes, I’m in the field watching the horses graze on fog
through my children’s eyes. In each revision,
the cloud around the sun re-sees itself.
Admit it. No one knows what they will have
to survive. What truth. What lie.

To See Anything Clearly is to Acknowledge the Gap Between the Object & the Eye

	It’s hard to say what I’ve asked of my life—

someone dead sings on the car radio, another half

	   -slipped hallelujah. I pull the car over. The river there is high,

is a drunken whisper in the deadened

wood. The dreaded current crashes through me. It’s not that it could happen

		     to anyone. It’s that I can’t believe anyone dies

while there is still singing. A voice scraping the night

	from its hiding place. From water, its need. I don’t understand

			      if faith takes the shape of the body I was last 

                held by, or if it is your dying that I’ve been 

small inside. I don’t understand how to endure 

        mercy, only that you were human in that fresh water, your boots too

                             heavy. I don’t understand love as you move in me

		      while I am alone here. I don’t understand how a river

can ask anything, let alone that someone wade inside it

  as though inside the night itself. I don’t understand the cry of that night

		       on my skin. As it calls you back. As it calls you back

	to water that closed your eyes. I don’t understand why water must first fall

to be whole. I don’t understand the dailiness of sorrow. This age. That my body said, yes,

    though I deny its sentences. The tiny eternities of the moth

flowers. That any choir might carry. That I might stand on these banks until

				     everywhere, even water, heaves up light.

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