Get our latest essays, archival selections, reading lists, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Buildings stake my breath away
needle in a haystack all crumpled
gets in an unmarked car & follows
as usual people are polishing their
caves below & becoming lonelier
To feel important in the world is
as overbooked as it is up here
situated in a heron’s eye window
hazy pressed lead soaking up
coastlines of sands & swamps
If you know me you know the sky
forever remains a nonstop miracle
& so does the opportunity for joy
living on the ground is the problem
there’s a higher risk of getting killed
driving cars & as a black woman
I have to agree on how steel takes
form in the cast of murder weapons
who kill quickly or slowly & no matter
how many honed rocks we throw back
Mama, here comes the sad part: glass
houses get rebuilt, modified to withstand
a good blast, & they say we deserve to
die by them if we get in the way.
Nikki Wallschlaeger’s work has been featured in The Nation, Brick, American Poetry Review, Witness, Kenyon Review, Poetry, and elsewhere. She is the author of the full-length collections Houses (Horseless Press 2015) and Crawlspace (Bloof 2017) as well as the graphic book I Hate Telling You How I Really Feel (2019) from Bloof Books. She is also the author of an artist book called “Operation USA” through the Baltimore-based book arts group Container, a project acquired by Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee. Her third collection, Waterbaby, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in 2021.
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
The vast hinterlands of the Global South’s cities are generating new solidarities and ideas of what counts as a life worth living.
Protests in China are shining a light not only on the country’s draconian population management but restrictions on workers everywhere.
Support us with a donation this giving season.