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The Story of a Marriage

by Leigh Chadwick

My husband sits next to me on the couch and writes me a love letter. He mails the love letter to me by carrier pigeon. The carrier pigeon gets lost in transit, and it takes a week for the pigeon to get from one side of the couch to the other. When the pigeon finally finds me, I press it against my chest and untie the note from its leg. My lips stay glued as I read the letter: I like the way you look when you don’t know where to look. I hold my husband’s hand as I write a love letter back to him. It is the best day when our lips spend the afternoon touching. I strap the note to the pigeon’s left leg and send it back on its way. The pigeon flies into the wall on the opposite end of the room. The pigeon drops to the ground. I ask the pigeon if it’s okay, but the pigeon doesn’t say anything because the pigeon is dead, and you can’t say anything when you’re dead. My husband starts to get off the couch to pick up the note and dump the pigeon in the trash, but I keep hold of his hand. Wait, I tell him. It’s not time to let go yet.

Leigh Chadwick is the author of the poetry collection Your Favorite Poet (Malarkey Books, 2022). Her writing has appeared in Passages North, Salamander, The Indianapolis Review, No Contact, and Hobart, among others. She is a regular contributor for Olney Magazine, where she conducts the “Mediocre Conversations” interview series.

Lead image: “I Hold It All Here” (via Flickr user Casey Marshall)