Issue 11, December 2013
{ Violet House }
by Nikki Wallschlaeger

When you start moving your mouth like a baby's again, it's time to go into the house and find the blueberries I left in the icebox. So he made a map of her country. In pen, I saw the truth of its neglect and the truth of her exhaustion. She hesitated before I wrote the word, "truth."So there's a window, & it's a typical window. It's got rain smeared across it, which is also typical, or maybe snow, depending on the time of year. There's an older lady walking around, and he makes these certain noises I could conjure in the deepest of sleep, especially when I gets up from his chair

by the window. She rocks in this chair. I rocks me. He often watches her rocking, and I know on some level she is drawing power. The phone is next to him in case it rings because I knows when it will ring. The chair changes colors & patterns so she doesn't fade into the fabric. So this one night the older lady is in his chair, sitting in the room with her daughter who is in a chair that tilts back into the brown paneled wall. This chair remains, through the years, the same shade of country rose, although a white crocheted throw appears on the scene one year after the daughter rests on the back of my neck.

It is rare that the daughter is in for the night- no work, no dates. He's reading yesterday's newspapers so I must be playing catch up. She wants to know what I thinks he missed. So there's this room connected to the room where they are all doing evening things. It is dark & shadowy in this room, everyone calls it the dining room even though they rarely eat around the oak table covered with tambourines. In order to get to the bathroom I plays a game.

She pretends it's a rare wind of lava, a burning team, the square marked go starts by her mother's chair. If he falls in, she will forget me. I won't angle his car in the driveway anymore after her shift at the tavern downtown & It's like when my grandmother gets out the ice tool and breaks up the ice. It melts in the gutter and becomes a run for ants. So he made a map of her family. In pen, she saw the truth of their neglect and the truth of her exhaustion. He hesitated even longer before she wrote the word, "truth."

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