by Nicki Mehle

They didn’t get mad, no Babi and Papa didn’t
even mention it, but I lied
pressed against the wall, damp
hands against my cheeks, warm
burning hot around my eyes -wettish,
muggy thighs. Itchy thighs on a scratchy
naked, mattress. Evidence
in the closet behind three rows of Papa’s shoes.
I had watered the printed flowers.
-I peed their couch once too and
when I woke up they said Go
back to sleep, sweetie
on the other couch.

I cuss at my cat when he pees
on my blouses, on my sweaters pees
on my tote bag, pees.
He’s sorry he tells me when he
scampers away, his wide eyes of warm yellow
Pissed I am cause he pissed
and pissed I am when the dry cleaners charges me
sixteen dollars to give me back my
peacoat –my smelly wool peacoat whose destiny it was
to get peed on.

But maybe their inflexible smiles
and hush-hush knew that one day they might pee
in diapers again, and I with my inflexible smile
and hush-hush will tend to them. Or maybe
they will die and then loom over me, intercepting
the sun and I will push
their pee off my windshield
with my wipers and watch it move
in shaky lines over the car as they sit
up there laughing.

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Nikki Mehle is entering her junior year at the Cleveland Institute of Art, where she is majoring in painting. She participates in the creative writing emphasis at the school, and she plans to eventually combine her poetry with her artwork, creating a sort of hybrid of expression.