I share a bottle of wine with my clone. We tape Papier-mâché wings on the sides of a hospital and throw the hospital off the edge of a cliff. The wings don’t flap and the hospital was always too heavy to ever know flight. Everything becomes the ground once it meets it. A fortune teller tells me that death tastes purple. I ask her why and she says she doesn’t know. She says, Does it matter? I tell her, Everything matters until it doesn’t. I package my mental illness inside a box of Girl Scout cookies. I run out of room and have to use two boxes of Girl Scout cookies. Then, three. I sell the cookies to my youth. They go well with cigarettes, I tell eight-year-old me. My favorite past-time is waking up hollowed-out ghosts. My second favorite past-time is blowing my hair dryer on the ghosts and watching them spin like the blades of a fan, swirling into a dust bowl of fog. You come over to tell me you were coming over. You say, You are my favorite weather, but you’re looking at my clone instead of me. You are still looking at my clone when you tell me, My only hobby is folding you into an origami swam after we’ve dried out from the slickness of the bed. I tell you to stop looking at my clone. You tell me you can’t tell the difference. I tell you to try harder, though we agree it’s hard to argue with imperfection masquerading as longevity. Still, something needs to happen, so you help me kill my clone with a butter knife. We drag her out of the house and into the backyard, where we lay her under a painting of linden. I bury a treehouse and grow a village. The mind withers.
Leigh Chadwick’s poetry and prose has appeared or is forthcoming in Salamander, Bear Creek Gazette, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Heavy Feather Review, and Milk Candy Review, among others. Her debut poetry collection, Chocolate Chip Pancakes, is forthcoming from ELJ Editions in February of 2022. Find her on Twitter at @LeighChadwick5.