a very colorful image of a forest floor with lots of greenery and purple flowers in the background, in the foreground there is a red capped mushroom with white dots on the cap and an off-white hue to the stem, passing in front of the mushroom is a snail with a brown shell and a green/yellow body heading into the grass near a small brown mushroom and a stem of beehive shaped red flowers, on top of one of the smaller stems is another yellow/green snail with a lighter brown shell. Next to/behind the red flowers is a tree trunk like shape that extends out of the image, on one of the lower branches is a small boy in a white and blue striped shirt with dark navy blue pants and black sandals on, next to him on the branch just slightly above the smaller snail is a big, beautiful blue and white dragonfly. It is the largest creature in the image.

1993 Tableau sans Lithium


That first season of Bed Days, hours galloped wild maned

on the top floor apartment, my brother & I, 

mama’s plush paisley armchairs flipped & so

we cowboyed, spurred them over the fence & down the street.

Outside, winter brushed its back against the doors & windows.

Inside, mama rolled over in bed to face away from us.

Nikki Ummel is a queer artist, editor, and educator in New Orleans. She is the 2022 recipient of the Leslie McGrath Poetry Prize. She has a poetry chapbook, Hush (Belle Point Press, 2022) and a hybrid chapbook, Bayou Sonata (NOLA DNA, 2023). You can find her on the web at http://www.nikkiummel.com.

Image Credit: “The Magic of Readingby Josephine Florens