Deer Poem by Leigh Chadwick

Deer Poem

The first time I saw my husband he was a deer
grazing in the field behind my house. It was morning,
early enough for the dew to still be settled.
I was standing in the living room, looking out the window
as I watched him, his head down, his teeth pressed
against the earth. I thought milk thistle
but didn’t know why. I wished him to stay. I blinked,
and he was still there. I did a load of laundry,
and he was still there. I painted the kitchen lagoon.
Again, he was still there. I waited for the sky to cry.
The sky never cried, but my husband stayed,
unmoved, his mouth still pressed against the earth,
the grass nothing but dirt. The sun began to fall.
I opened my back door and walked out into the field.
My husband’s ears twitched. His antlers grew smaller antlers.
His heart threatened nothing but its next beat.


Leigh Chadwick is the author of the chapbook, Daughters of the State (Bottlecap Press, 2021), the poetry coloring book, This Is How We Learn How to Pray (ELJ Editions, 2021), and the full-length collection, Wound Channels (ELJ Editions, 2022). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Salamander, Heavy Feather Review, Indianapolis Review, and Olney Magazine, among others. Find her on Twitter at @LeighChadwick5.

It Takes a Calculator to Count the Dead by Leigh Chadwick

It Takes a Calculator to Count the Dead

The sun bakes an island on the concrete.
I wake up to the smell of sulfur.
The magnolias in the yard are refusing to bloom.
I never know where to rest my hands anymore.
Between starting this poem on a Friday
and finishing it on a Monday, there have been
at least eleven more mass shootings.
I consider praying, but I was never taught how.
I dress my daughter in camouflage
and carry her from room to room. I tell her,
I’m sorry I brought you into this.
I tell her, Pretend a miracle is on its way.
I tell her, Maybe this is how we
learn how to pray.

Leigh Chadwick’s poetry and prose has appeared or is forthcoming in Salamander, Milk Candy Review, Olney Magazine, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and Bear Creek Gazette, among others. Her debut poetry collection, Wound Channels, will be published by ELJ Editions in February of 2022. Find her on Twitter at @LeighChadwick5.