by Leigh Chadwick
I want to be polite in the way people who sneeze into their elbows are polite, so I always look both ways before driving into the ocean. I feel useless holding an empty wine glass, so I’m always buying more bottles of wine, which means I’m always stumbling into walls and falling into my bathtub as I reach for my hair dryer to steady myself. I often wake up expecting to see rocks shaped like atomic bombs, or atomic bombs shaped like rocks, or the devil crawling out of a sewer grate—his pitchfork a forest fire the color of California. Sometimes life is just a whimper. Sometimes life is nothing. Sometimes, after I finish my chocolate chip pancakes, the devil gives me lightning bolts shaped like toothpicks. I want to be polite in the way automatic doors rarely stop being automatic, so I tell the devil, Thank you, as I take a lightning bolt and close my eyes, waiting for the world to melt.
Leigh Chadwick is the author of the chapbook, Daughters of the State (Bottlecap Press, 2021), Her debut full-length collection of poems, Wound Channels, and her novel, Pretend I Am Real, 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. She is a regular contributor at Olney Magazine, where she runs the “Mediocre Conversations” interview series. Find her on Twitter at @LeighChadwick5. This is How We Learn to Pray, a Poetry Coloring Book (in collaboration with Steph Kirsten, illustrator) is forthcoming October 2021.