Poetry. African American Studies. Women's Studies. "In my father's house are many mansions," Jesus promised. In her deftly-aimed, disarmingly poised debut, Nikki Wallschlaeger leads us phrase by phrase through the many dim and brightly lit houses of our American psyche in this pitiless new century: "Hospitals. Lighted for end times. They run on glossy generators & backup generators, lights of all dreams." Her long lines push the phrases into tight proximities which are sometimes painful, sometimes grate up a little spark: "Neighbor, our hearts pumped blood in the same room, looking onto lakes that teenagers drown in." I admire the grave persistence of her vision, the precision of her eye and ear. Houses unflinchingly reports the extremity of contemporary existence and presents the "end times" as durational, as just something else to endure. "The bill, they say, is going through the house. Eventually we'll have to get real." Joyelle McSweeney"