The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2022

All Issues
JUNE 2022 Issue


This is a Grace Period

Granting grace, buying and selling grace, cast iron grace, grace in the cupboard behind the
hot cocoa packets, grace in my bathroom grout, blue ribbon grace, hand me down grace and

a truck coming to empty the septic tank grace, the grace of lightning bugs before light’s out,
concentrated new formula grace, an extended motif on grace, good morning grace grammar,

the law of grace and attraction, uncanny valley grace, oven mitt with a hole in it grace, grace
for children and the lonely, swallowing my grace, battling graceful demons, graceful savagery

on the stage, the pitcher’s mound of grace, back in the saddle grace, professional assistance
with grace, the grace of minding one’s business, southern discomfort grace, violescent dogs

of grace, corrective torture of grace, holy rollers on my itching scalp grace, grace of no return,
grace of disengaging, desperate and unpopular grace, rooting for the most pleasurable grace,

grace revived, grace deterred, inhospitable grace, the grace for misplaced antipathy, grace for
folks who don’t know any better, God’s grace for folks who just don’t fucking know any better.

How to Write a War Poem

You must feel helpless– That’s what brought you here? You’ve been watching the news? You
feel out laundered? By selfhood, extravagance, and targets?

You ordered a book on how to survive a nuclear holocaust? Just in case modernity ratifies its
favorite wish? The landscape is misting? Makes you think of smoke?

Are you shaking your beveled fist at God? Is there significant change to the bloodhounds of
memory? Do you cover your head in public? In private?

What do you do when your children are lucid consumers? When you’re being flagged down by
instinct? You want to believe in kites? Makes you think of airspace?

Have you backfilled your mentions with non-denominational prayer? Do the mountains wink
when they transcribe the sun? What is the best way to defend the honor of life?

Gemini Man

Well, they live in the sky where their best friend is themselves--the sky is a thin vagary of hope,
but it's when they come to visit is where the trouble starts. In the stratospheres they live on
information--and information travels from the people and communities who create and nurture it.
Now, the Gemini Man, being a sky being, has taken the position that the best place to capture
knowledge is to simply live above it instead of applying it. It's a skylined ploy that gives the
appearance of deep wit and benign cosmopolitanism-- breathing is, after all, liberally available
to everybody, and sometimes dense breathing, twinned with pride, gives off the eloquence of
refined luxury of thought, especially if the Gemini Man managed to secure certain literati
positions of past and present authority based on theoretical meritocracy. For who is the Gemini
Man without his control group? The rest of us, struggling in our primitive pizza huts and tax
paper shanties, diagnosed by Dr. Mehmet Oz with psycho-social disorders like drapetomania
and kleptomania, are desperately in need of a singular thinker to be our philosopher- mogul
from the goldfish bowl, to guide us to the promised fictions of western intellect where freedom,
that great nomenclature invented by the French, is allowed to exist in (debated) theory only.


Nikki Wallschlaeger

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.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2022

All Issues