I Want to Tell Your Bacteria to Stop It with the Conjunctions

Leigh Chadwick

My daughter has bacterial conjunctivitis. Her eyes have turned into a river filled with bodies meant to be forgotten. I take my daughter to the doctor. The doctor checks my daughter’s eyes for alligators, but the doctor only finds tadpoles. The doctor plucks the tadpoles out of her eyes with tweezers. She puts the tadpoles in a Ziploc baggie and gives the baggie to my daughter. When we get home the tadpoles have turned into tiny frogs. My daughter punches holes in the top of a Mason jar, fills the jar with a lake and drops the frogs in the jar. She names all of the frogs Darwin. She takes her Mason jar full of Darwins to her kindergarten class’s show and tell, where she stands in front of the class and holds the Mason jar above her head. The kids watch the tiny frogs swim in circles. The kids watch them drink Budweiser and then drunkenly leap over each other. My daughter blinks and every science fiction movie becomes a true story. The kids watch the frogs evolve into monkeys and the Mason jar turn into a barrel. My daughter sneezes and a tornado breaks Oklahoma in half. Moments later and now the monkeys are humans. The barrel, a Motel 6. My daughter coughs and the San Andreas fault ruptures. The teacher cracks his knuckles, and an AR-15 invites a grocery store over for dinner. In my daughter’s hands, the humans are still humans, but the Motel 6 is now a nursing home. Next to the nursing home sits a mortuary, overlooking the river draining from my daughter’s eyes.




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 to Pray, illustrated by Stephanie Kirsten. Her forthcoming books include her debut poetry collection Your Favorite Poet (Malarkey Books, 2022) and the collaborative poetry collection Too Much Tongue (Autofocus, 2022), co-written with Adrienne Marie Barrios. She can be found online at http://www.leighchadwick.com and on Twitter at @LeighChadwick5.