Leigh Chadwick puts sunscreen on the sunflowers in the yard. She builds her poems into tree houses. A butterfly cocoons. Inside the house, Leigh Chadwick dresses up as a lifeguard while you go scuba diving in the washing machine. She plugs in an iron and coats your clothes in butter. The television in the family room is turned to CNN. Someone is shot somewhere. In the chest. In the throat. In the throat of their chest. Somewhere else, someone is shot. In the leg. In the back of the head. In the middle of a storm named after someone’s brother. Leigh Chadwick grows a migraine. Everything is the news even when it’s not. It’s late afternoon. A Sunday. She wants to ask you if you think ghosts go on dates, neck in the backseat of cars, fuck against splintered oak. Instead, she says, What a nice day for a drive, don’t you think? and you nod and then the two of you are on Highway 61, passing the pawn shop across from the leftover rubble of the last Toys”R”Us, and then the billboard that reads DID YOU GROW UP WITH NICE PEOPLE? Leigh Chadwick thinks about the billboard, the question on the billboard, and she doesn’t know. She’s never been good at answering questions that weren’t multiple choice. Leigh Chadwick licks her lips, runs her tongue along her gums. Her mouth tastes like a palindrome. She stares outside the passenger’s side window. It’s nothing but trees and trees and more trees—all of them so full and green and wide awake. Leigh Chadwick thinks if the sky wasn’t close to setting, it could be morning. She imagines counting the trees, counting to a thousand and then going until she reaches a thousand thousands. She can taste the word foliage. She can smell the butter on your thighs. Leigh Chadwick thinks, Lush, a shade of deep love.
Leigh Chadwick is the author of the chapbook, Daughters of the State (Bottlecap Press, 2021), and the poetry coloring book, This Is How We Learn How to Pray (ELJ Editions, 2021). Wound Channels, her full-length poetry collection, and Pretend I Am Real, a novel written in vignettes, will be simultaneously released by ELJ Editions in February of 2022. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Salamander, Heavy Feather Review, Indianapolis Review, and Milk Candy Review, among others. Find her on Twitter at @LeighChadwick5.