Butterfly on a Baby’s Head

Nikki Wallschlaeger

Maybe it was you
Maybe we’re marching to the store
Maybe we’re coming back from the ballpark
Maybe we’re plump robins shopping in your birdbath
Maybe you’re a crest of eggs on a backdoor planet
Maybe after the funeral you became a butterfly on a baby’s head
Maybe we yowled and high-fived each other for a job well done
Maybe I helped you sit up when you were finished napping
Maybe I’m a cute bug with Black hair and you’re a shack of wings
Maybe we’re both babies in booster seats looking at each other
Maybe we’re watching lava fissures cleave open in Hawaii
Maybe we’re helping children escape battlefields in the south
Maybe the missing children we found are napping in a crest of eggs
Maybe you helped me sit up for the last time before I became a wing
Maybe on a quiet planet a child breathing is called a warm breeze
Maybe you are a retired robin bunching my hair into pigtails
Maybe you prepared me for living on battlefields in the west
Maybe after your funeral we watched the Cubs game
and during the 7th inning stretch you stood w/ Harry Caray

Nikki Wallschlaeger’s work  has been featured in The Nation, Brick, American Poetry Review, Witness, 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) also from Bloof Books.