Rebecca Schumejda

The Black Angel

Mary got a new job
at the midtown laundromat,
four days a week,
for horrible pay,
no health benefits or retirement,
just endless loads of
free laundry.
She confesses she stopped by
the nursing home, crept into
the client’s room,
who accused her of stealing,
and placed a black angel figurine
amongst the other religious chachkas
on the woman’s dresser.
When I ask her why she says,
You must not be Catholic.
I explain how I am one generation removed.
Well, Honey, she says, A real Catholic
wouldn’t dare get rid of an angel,
no matter if it were cracked, wingless or black.
And that woman, Mrs. Harris, who accused me
of stealing, because she didn’t want a black aide,
will have to hold onto that angel
like the truth until the day she dies
and child that makes
starching strangers’ shirts a little less painful.

 


Rebecca Schumejda is the author of Waiting at the Dead End Diner (Bottom Dog Press, 2014), Cadillac Men (NYQ Books, 2012), 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. Her work has been, or will be, published in the following online and print journals: Brouhaha, Chronogram, Controlled Burn, Full of Crow, Home Planet News, Mannequin Envy, My Favorite Bullet, The New York Quarterly, nibble, Night Train, Outsider Writer, Rattapallax, Rusty Truck, Somerville News, Thieves Jargon, Underground Voices, Wilderness House Literary Review, Word Riot, Words Dance, Zygote in my Coffee, and many other publications. Rebecca Schumejda lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and daughters. She teaches at an alternative high school program in Hudson, NY.