Flowers, I met you in a field of flowers. In the field of flowers you were dressed like a child’s lost balloon. You pointed to yourself and told me to hold on. “Everyone is waiting,” you said. I looked all around us—to the north and to the south and to the east and to the west—but I saw no one. We were alone, all ghosts and charm. Still, you insisted they were there, they who had come to see us marry the sky, they who were waiting patiently to watch as the sky swept past us, as if the clouds were on a conveyor belt. 

You tied your wrist around mine as I told you about how, as a child, I would rub dirt on my shins so my grandmother would have to rub the dirt off. I would say mother, but my mother never existed. These were the days when I wanted nothing more than to be held, to hold, to be on my own conveyor belt as I moved through every definition of touch, everything that followed hold, the once upon a time, and wherever my mother went before she decided she never wanted to have to rub dirt off my shins. 

“Everyone is waiting,” you said, again. You were smiling, all gapped teeth and lips gone U-turn. I didn’t care that you were wrong, that we were alone, that there was no one waiting to watch us turn starling. It was in that moment I wanted nothing more than to crawl through the gap between your two front teeth. I wanted to grow fur and burrow inside you. I wanted to audit a class on how to hibernate inside a lover who moonlighted as a balloon. I wanted to stay a while, maybe forever, but I knew I wouldn’t fit. Instead, I reached for you, grabbing on to as much as I could hold. 

It only took a blink and then we were floating. We were floating so high we were above the ghosts and the ghosts of their ghosts, above their stained white sheets—now nothing but clouds beneath us.

***

Leigh Chadwick is the author of a chapbook, Daughters of the State (Bottlecap Press, 2021), a poetry coloring book, This Is How We Learn How to Pray (ELJ Editions, 2021) and the full-length poetry collection, Wound Channels (ELJ Editions, 2022). Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in SalamanderHeavy Feather ReviewSchuylkill Valley JournalIndianapolis ReviewONE ART, and Bending Genres, among others. Find her on Twitter at @LeighChadwick5.