Creative Nonfiction: “Jewel and Jewel” by Adrienne Marie Barrios and Leigh Chadwick

Adrienne Barrios tells Leigh Chadwick, If I were Jewel, I’d be twenty-five percent more tragic and seventy percent prettier. Leigh Chadwick says, If I were a jewel, I’d be buried deep beneath the surface of the earth where no one could ever touch me. Adrienne Barrios thinks about saying that wasn’t what she meant, but she decides it doesn’t matter. Instead, she writes a letter to Sylvia Plath and asks, Why didn’t you just break the glass with your engagement ring? Sylvia Plath doesn’t answer. Adrienne Barrios decides to keep an icepick in her shoe just in case. She waits in line at a post office in Massachusetts and mails an icepick sealed in a Ziploc baggie to Leigh Chadwick, in that somewhere in Tennessee. By the time it reaches Leigh Chadwick in that somewhere in Tennessee, the icepick has melted. Leigh Chadwick stands over her sink, in a kitchen dressed farm, and pours the lukewarm water from Ziploc baggie down her throat. She wipes her chin, tells her daughter not to worry. She tells her walls can always be built thicker. She promises to always plant tulips in the medicine cabinet every spring.

Adrienne Marie Barrios is editor-in-chief of Reservoir Road Literary Review and CLOVES Literary. She is author of the poetry collection We Don’t Know That This Is Temporary (Redacted Books, 2023) and co-author of the prose poetry collection Too Much Tongue (Autofocus, 2022), written collaboratively with Leigh Chadwick. Her work has appeared in trampset, Passages North, Identity Theory, and Bending Genres, among others journals. She edits anthologies and award-winning novels and short stories.

Leigh Chadwick is the author of the poetry collection Your Favorite Poet (Malarkey Books, 2022) and the collaborative poetry collection Too Much Tongue (Autofocus, 2022), co-written with Adrienne Marie Barrios. Her poetry has appeared in Salamander, Passages North, The Indianapolis Review, and Hobart, among others. She is a regular contributor at Olney Magazine, where she conducts the “Mediocre Conversations” interview series. Find her on Twitter at @LeighChadwick5.

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