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Rebecca Schumejda
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Painting Windows Shut

 

Rebecca Schumejda

 

 

As you pry open the lid,

you remind me not to paint

the windows shut this time—

proving infamy follows us.

 

I open windows to encourage

cross ventilation and discourage

condemnation. I dip the brush in,

gently shake off the excess,

 

close my eyes and remember how,

as a child, my father accused me

of eating a jar of maraschino cherries

that he used for edible garnishes.  

 

For twenty years, my father

reminded me of this every time

he placed a cherry into a drink

or on top of an ice cream sundae.

 

After my father’s funeral,

over whiskey sours,

my younger brother confesses guilt,

too late to repair my reputation.

 

He dangles his cherry in front of me

allowing the excess juice to drip

like truth, like paint,

onto his wedding and funeral suit.

 

 

 

Next the Laundry

 

Rebecca Schumejda

 

For Kaya

 

 

While you nap, finally, I can do dishes

and watch the groundhog and her babies

squeeze under the garden’s rickety fence.

 

Last year, before she had children

and before you were accustomed to

talking back, we all blissfully cohabitated.

 

Now all my border plants are frayed

like my patience after explaining,

for the hundredth time, that I am not

 

cleaning it up this time, all the while

questioning my maternal instincts

because I feel like I could snap

 

the necks of those thieves right now

while you are probably dreaming of

something spectacular like fireworks,

 

soft like kitten fur that you tease

between your tiny fingers, far enough

away that you can’t feel claws sink in

 

or the heat at the point of explosion. 

 

 

How to Manage Debt

 

 

Rebecca Schumejda

 

 

As we write out

checks for bills

pennies over interest

our daughter slips her feet

into empty envelopes

that she calls ice skates

and slides across

the dusty wood floor.

 

She performs adapted

figure eights and pirouettes

then picks up speed

shuffling forward into

a triple axel

landing on her knees.

She screams about

cracks in the ice.

 

You stop searching

for stamps, run over,

swoop her up, up, up

into the air, so she can

stretch her wings

and arch her back

executing a perfect swan lift.

 

 

 

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).

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