On the Back Porch After an Argument
We listen to stars,
jazz trumpets, reverberating in night air,
like fog horns
warning a boat’s approaching.
I want to tell you I am not mad,
but I’m a horrible liar.
In the distance a train whistles,
a dog barks, brakes squeak.
I am the one on the back
of an accelerating motorcycle;
my mouth opens and the breeze
tastes like cotton candy.
At night, there is a ceiling between us.
Floorboards squeak above where you sleep
our daughter on your chest, rising and falling
or sometimes it is me looking up at cracks
in the plaster, wondering if you are asleep
or listening to the sound of the house settling.
Sometimes, all three of us squeeze into one bed.
Our daughter central her limbs flailing
as if she’s dreaming of making snow angels.
You and I face outward like bookend gargoyles,
hanging off the bed to ward off evil spirits.
No, April is not the cruelest month—
Shoveling Our Way Out
wars are being fought all around us now
stirring cold with hate, the snow,
the snow is relentless, yet fluffy,
easier swept than shoveled.
Forecasts, shape-shifters, snowflakes
that land then melt on my nose,
the muffins I pull from the oven still warm
and filled with canned wild blueberries,
offer the only hope, somewhat artificial
like our arbitrary apologies. We did
what we did. You took down the store’s sign
two falls ago now, leaving the metal chain
swinging over the warped walkway, above heads
of empty-pocketed dreams. You said, Becky,
Becky, hold on tight. And down we went
into the recesses of the heart.
We wait for thaw, for crocuses,
for winter’s bankruptcy, for purple tips
to push through the late snowfall.
I am terrified of the hidden costs of memories,
of slipping and saying I told you so,
of how long it will take to shovel our way out.
©2010 by Rebecca Schumejda
Rebecca Schumejda is the author
of Falling Forward, a full-length collections of poems (sunnyoutside, 2009),
The Map of Our Garden (verve bath, 2009), Dream Big Work Harder
(sunnyoutside press 2006), The Tear Duct of the Storm (Green Bean Press, 2001),
and the poem "Logic" on a postcard (sunnyoutside). She received her MA in
Poetics and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, and her BA in
English and Creative Writing from SUNY New Paltz.
She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and daughter.
She teaches at an alternative high school program in Hudson, New York.