Issue 11, December 2013
{ Bleu de France House }
by Nikki Wallschlaeger
For Seraphine de Senlis

Rain on the shim window of a car I don't know how to drive, my dear. The elephant pleasure of the waterface & it's very un-HUAC of me to love many people at once, the little shits.

Holding camp in the middle of a city owned by hotels, she decided to wear taffeta. Her muses paid the bill to the dressmaker when she knocked on all the village doors, leaving wicks of gas heap clutter.

I do not believe she went willingly. I do not believe her muses were in bed with HUAC sympathizers, even though this happened decades later, I REALIZE this, but the same sentiment was there

that women who listen to the unseen must be hidden in the white breastpockets of the breastless, shamed by a mental health facility nurse with a jesus tattoo on her ankle. Whether it's a cop car

or a wooden wagon led by overworked horses. Whether it's a locked neighborhood in Watts or a detention center for neglected girls. We still paint flowers. We still paint poems.

I do not believe she went willingly. Neighbor, our hearts pumped blood in the same room looking onto lakes that children drown in.

Nikki Wallschlaeger's work has been featured in DecomP, Esque, Word Riot, Spork, Great Lakes Review, Horse Less Review and others. She is the author of two chapbooks: THE FROGS AT NIGHT (Shirt Pocket Press) and I WOULD BE THE HAPPIEST BIRD (Strange Cage Press, forthcoming). She lives in Milwaukee, WI, and you can reach her at