I wake up as myself and then wake up as another me and then another me says hello to the first or second or eighty-fifth or three millionth me. A storm brews in the lunchroom, chipping the coffee pot, knocking over a chair. I am wearing a gown covered in charcoal. The walls are padded in foam. I bump into the foam and bounce back and forth like a game of Pong. An orderly sprinkles me with salt and leads me toward a set of doors. We pass a closet filled with jackets shaped like pretzels and white as clouds. An applause sign hanging from the ceiling begins to flash. Most laugh tracks are a symphony of hyenas or echoes from the dead, the orderly says. I don’t know how I got here. The double doors open. The walls sigh. I don’t know how I got here. I close my eyes. A meteor falls from the sky.
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 is forthcoming from ELJ Editions in February of 2022. Find her on Twitter at @LeighChadwick5.