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

This is the place. High magic, she said. That's what they're doin, & it's not the good kind, either. Old plantation times movin over my wrist, the shadow of this famous fence. How would it feel if the clouds were owned, if they finally figured out how to escape the weather? Somewhere, I think in Mississippi, are the boarded up bones of my women kin, but I believe all of their spirits are really being held hostage in the secret tombs of our nation's capital, concentrated into the first lady's gems with other folks, too.

Everything that has ever happened to our people on this continent has been recorded. When I say recorded, child, I don't necessarily mean with ledgers & fountain pens & scriptures & all of that ricin shit, although some of it is, except most folks don't really understand what these stories are trying to say because they are categorized as "art" or "literature" or "gospel" which is part of the deflection process, the process of peeling people apart from themselves. There's always a big knife in the kitchen.

Our people sure have strong arms, she said. Those Ionic columns forced to hold up that cotton pickin house. That's why the white house gets repainted every year, they're afraid the cracks will show. Black cracks. Where the skid plate is getting desperate. Before most of us could learn their chicken scratch we left other things.

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