Archive for the Rebecca Schumejda Category

Rebecca Schumejda

Posted in Rebecca Schumejda with tags on July 6, 2022 by Scot



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.

Rebecca Schumejda

Posted in Rebecca Schumejda with tags on January 6, 2013 by Scot

What We Use Against One Another

You are thin as a celery stalk
and I, a Bosch pear.

Your feet and hands icicles
from September to June.

In the shower, I use up
all the hot water.

You get the bathmat wet.

I use your toothbrush

your razors

your deodorant.

There are piles of wet leaves
in our yard,
we will let decompose.

Snow and silences

cover blemishes.

Three rakes are truths
hidden under
rubbish in the shed.

On trash days, you wait

until the truck rounds the corner.

Instead of cleaning the fridge,
I push everything back
to make more room.

I ask the same questions
from a dozen different angles.

At parties, when I drink too much,
I paint us naked without consideration.

But, morning afters,
the empty bottle of Aspirin,
you leave in the medicine cabinet,

is much more telling.


The Spill by Rebecca Schumejda

Posted in Rebecca Schumejda with tags on July 5, 2010 by Scot

She is transitioning
from nipple
to bottle
from sippy cup
to straw.
My two-year-old
at the kitchen table
recklessly pulls
straw from cup.
Milk trapped inside
flows onto the table,
drips over the edge,
onto the tiled floor.

Over a mile under
the Gulf of Mexico,
an industrial vacuum cleaner,
without a collection bag,
has been gushing oil for weeks.
On the radio,
a reporter discusses
the complexity
of taking responsibility
as I hand my daughter
a damp towel
and ask her
to clean up
her own mess.

Chump Change by Rebecca Schumejda

Posted in Rebecca Schumejda with tags on July 12, 2009 by Scot

She took the buck twenty-nine
in two-headed-coins,
the type you flip
when you want to prove
you have control
over your own destiny.

Halloween Costumes…by Rebecca Schumejda

Posted in Rebecca Schumejda on April 13, 2009 by Scot


Steve tells me you’re slipping again
as he banks the seven in the side;
this is another reason why I hate

Halloween, the way you scoop the past
out like pumpkin guts and carve
your fears on your face. Even when

we were children, Steve and I calculated
time via the transitions of your emotions:
autumn’s always shrouded in self-

pity and regrets. Wet leaves waiting
on asphalt like unexpeted accidents;
the hue of the leaves steal our eyes

from the road; I thought you were getting
better; but I am busy, always busy,
rushing away from myself before the sun

casts shadows like people’s judgments.
My father’s brother, who visits least, offers the most
advice. So stinking drunk himself,

he tells Steve that he can knock him out;
maybe twenty years ago, before gout and
the wear and tear of disillusionment.

I envy the grip of the last leaves: holding on
despite fate and time, they are the uncle
swinging at air, you topping off your glass,

the brother’s words versus the uncle’s fists,
me playing busy and away, afraid
of inheriting our father’s weak heart.

I remember all the costumes you sewed by hand:
my favorite, a nurse’s uniform I saved,
hangs, like all our mistakes, in my dusty closet.

(from her new book Falling Forward awailable at sunnyoutside press)