Rebecca Schumejda



At Grief Counseling

I am expected to take off my shoes at the threshold before entering.
I feel lopsided, carrying the unevenly distributed weight of loss, more on
the right side than the left, I am trying to compensate, I like to think
because my dead husband was left-handed, but really I just fit
awkwardly into this grief, a tight bathing suit pulled over a long,
lazy winter. I take a seat and stare at the shade obstructing the view
the window could provide. Everything I do and say feels awkward
since he died. When asked how I am doing, I hear someone else respond,
Good, real good. Who says good? I think, what an idiot, I think,
you are well, not good in regards to health and wealth and I am neither.
Outside I envision a Mourning Dove’s nest on the window ledge,
a few babies on the cusp of flight calling out for their mother. How,
she asks, are your daughters doing? Good, good, the idiot says
as they thrash impatiently waiting for a worm or some other small comfort.



The Growing Season

Outside on the porch, protected from the rain by the overhang,
We plant seeds-cucumbers, zucchinis, peppers, beans and peas.
This time, last year, I was learning how to operate a pleural drain
to release the fluid that collected in my husband’s lungs.
My oldest pushes the seeds into the soil and my youngest
covers them thoroughly—I make labels and when the wind and
rain pick up, my oldest holds her cupped hands out to catch the
offering, the way her father held out his hands when the pain
became unbearable, when he couldn’t speak beyond guttural
groans, when he needed me to drop a pill into his hands
like a seed, hold his water cup steady and keep our daughters
far enough away so they didn’t have to witness his suffering.
My youngest leaps out past our shelter. She knows nothing more
about ballet than watching the Nutcracker once, but uses
the handrail as a bar and lifts her leg up precariously into the air.
Within minutes she is soaking wet and giggling. I want to hold onto
this moment like a pill he let soften on his tongue before swallowing.




You could hear the dripping from the bedroom;
you open the cabinet below the sink
and discover the body of water.

There is a wrench, beside the pipe,
that your late husband was the last to touch.

You wrote to a friend, who asked, that you feel like
you are stuck in a riptide. He never responded.

You know you have to pretend you can do it
so you pick up the wrench and hold it like a hammer.

You watch the pooled water take on new shapes.

There are all kinds of directions on how to handle loss
but none will help you repair a leaky sink.

You twirl the wrench around like a grief baton
before banging it against the night.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise:
it is easier to lie.

One Response to “Rebecca Schumejda”

  1. priscampbell Says:

    Outstanding! Moving!

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