Four Poems by Nicole Callihan

My Mother's Boyfriend

Says they 

Sell little


On eBay

U can

Get extra

For blondes

Like my




Start selling



They turn




But if


Don’t want

To get

Sold they

Can come

Live in



With him


My mom


They don’t

Have to

Go to


And they

Can have

All the candy 

They want

Which is

Of course

All the candy

In the world

And also

A horse

Do you 

like horses?

He asks.

How’s that sound?

My mother thinks he is very funny.


My Mother's Dog

can open doors

which is pretty


for a dog and

which makes him

slightly better

than her boyfriend

actually no

he too can open

doors would

probably hold

a door for you

if you were

of the weaker

sex which you

probably are

but which does

not redeem him

as a human

being not that

I’m one to go

around redeeming

humans and I don’t

mind if someone

holds the door

for me really

out of laziness

I suppose my college

bf fred used to

hold the door

for me he’d say

after you Madam

ma-damn girlfriend

which I thought

was pretty

hilarious he hated

the pictures

of women

with big boobs

that my stepdad

would send but

he loved big

boobs still does

probably though

I no longer 

have them but

still he’ll 


drunkenly text

and I’m like

hi fred my husband

found these

texts once

when we were

away somewhere

fancy and he was

all you love fred

and I was all

no not really

you want fred

to fuck you

and I was like

nah maybe finger

not really I just

said oh stop

you’re being

silly tho he’s not

a silly man

not very silly

at all funny but

not silly my 

mother the one

who cannot

pass a banana



it’s a telephone

or a man



he hung

the moon

or is well

hung haha

she is silly

and very proud

of her dog

who she named

tito after

the vodka

and who

on command

will open

the door

for her bf

who will

then open

the door

for her

until all the

doors in Oklahoma

are swinging

on their 

hinges I tell you

if you’re not

tied down

to the ground

that wind

will blow

you away  


My Mother's Refrigerator

is world
famous or
maybe not
world but
famous or
at least the
most popular
thing I
have ever
posted to IG
it is lots
of diet cokes
relish sour
cream some
nice beer a
little bit
of sprite a
and cream
flavored diet
coke more
popular than
surrounded by
as students
march to
protest gun
violence more
popular than
my poem
about a pinecone
that turns
into a bird or
any of my
sunsets more
popular than
my whole
book about
cancer or that
one pic of Z
in her red hat
mustard a mich
ultra are those
jalapenos more
popular than
a box of
citrus or flowers
on the a-train
or the poet
laureate on a
rooftop bar
in brooklyn more
popular than
my release
from the
hospital and 
central park abu
dhabi and the
empire state
building and so
much more
popular than the
cherry blossoms I 
mean people are
hungry for
my mother’s 
refrigerator they
are so hungry
what’s the
yellow stuff in
the bottles
it’s cream my
friends my 
it’s cream you
hungry mother
fuckers cream
which she
pours into
her tea so 
hungry are we
to see what
others hunger


My Mother's Swimming

pool is ooh

la la blue is

so blue and

pretty like

my mother

who doesn’t

swim only 

lies only

lies by her


pool getting

brown as

a bean as

a penny as

the sadder

she is and

I count 

pain in

sadness too

the more

she lies

the longer

like after

her spine


when she’d

use me

as a crutch

I was her

crutch to

get to

the pool

and there

I shaved

her legs

she hates


does not

mind injustice

but hates

stubble and

as now too

as her bf has 

kicked her

to the curb

not his

curb because

she would

rumple his



but her

curb but 

she will not

sit on her

curb picking

the scabs

of her knee

like I like

to do

no she will

make her

way to the

pool it makes

me feel

better she says

does no one

want me

to feel

better she says

it is 110

degrees in

oklahoma I

am happier

when I’m

tan I don’t

want to

talk to you

or anybody

stop just

let me bake

here in

the sun just

let me be

Nicole Callihan writes poems and stories. Her books include This Strange Garment (Terrapin 2023), SuperLoop, and the poetry chapbooks: The Deeply Flawed Human, Downtown, and ELSEWHERE (with Zoë Ryder White), as well as a novella, The Couples. Her work has appeared in Kenyon Review, Colorado Review, Conduit, The American Poetry Review, and as a Poem-a-Day selection from the Academy of American Poets. She has received support from the Rockefeller Foundation, Ludwig Vogelstein, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. SLIP, which won an Alma Award, will be published by Saturnalia in Spring 2025.