Once you shuck off the fur coats of many colors you find out most people just want to be good obedient citizens. To dress yourself for what the past says is the right side of history—when you go outside the latest fall in line looks and feels just like real suede. The ready to wear animal runs in partisan circles unsure of the latest cycle of immortality, itches at second, third, fourth season skins. But we buy it because who wouldn’t? What ghost brought back to life wouldn’t want a fabulous wardrobe? In the glorious fried envy of regal things, she considers the spoils. To have it, means you’ve won. To continue to lose, means you buy second hand because you never had the right to wear it first. A dead animal depleted of country eating the sky’s taxidermal jacket, bringing the heat for a banquet of communities below. You’re wearing me out. We are here, after all, swearing to ourselves that we can survive. The real and the fake—the choice of what to wear to stay comfortable—when they come together often shout the same thing.
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 Waterbaby, Houses and Crawlspace as well as the graphic book I Hate Telling You How I Really Feel 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.