For Sage 

Mommy, I need some help. Watch cartoons with me, Mommy. You my mommy. Henry’s a nice pup. I’m hungry, Mommy. I want some pizza. I want some juice. Mommy, I got poop pants. I come outside with you, Mommy. Thanks. Read books with me, Mommy. Snuggle with me. I don’t want to take a nap. Mommy, help, help. You a nice Mommy. When is Daddy coming home. Where is brother. It’s yucky. I don’t like it, I don’t like it, Mommy. Nice dog. Fast race car. My bike, my bike, Mommy. No doggy. Henry’s a nice dog. Give my Mommy a kiss, carry me Mommy. Where is bus. BUS! Find a different one. This. Come on, Mommy. What’s that noise. Go find treasure for you. Mermaids, sharks. Mommy what you doing. Daddy’s at work?  Brother is at school. Take a bath. I want to take a bath, Mommy. Splash Mommy. Boats. Submarine. Mommy, I got owie. Right there. How about some cookies. Fine. You stop it, you do it. I found something, Mommy. Open. Yummy food. I want blue, yellow. I want to help you, Mommy. Mine.


Nikki Wallschlaeger’s work  has been featured in The Nation, Brick, American Poetry Review, Witness,   Kenyon Review, POETRY, and others. 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. // @nikkimwalls


Banner image by Olivia Cronk