How to Survive the Winters
It comes for me, so I flee to the gym
to ride two miles on a stationary bike.
Outside, the windchill is below zero.
The thing is people will remember
the bulge collecting at my hips and
thighs more than any poem I write.
The odometer sticks, and the distance
traveled forgotten, all these words
that snap like branches burdened by ice.
How to Swim With Jellyfish
Even though moon jellies don’t sting,
it hurts to think how you drank enough
to invite a stranger, just released
from prison into your bed during
your college years, just before you met
your husband. Remember how you
told me never to tell anyone?
Have you ever gone night swimming
with phosphorescent jellyfish,
felt them, like gelatinous mistakes,
bumping against your arms and legs
like when you slept with that man
who shoved a broken beer bottle into
another man’s throat? Someone should have
told you jellies are carnivorous, but
drift with the current, settle for whatever
happens by. Moon Jellies don’t go looking
for trouble, like your husband says you do;
they keep their long tentacles tucked
under their skirts. Not you, you believe
any stranger that promises that he did
not do it. You are more shadow than flesh,
more madness than moonlight,
the way situations just happen upon you.
Just Remember, if you find yourself in water
at night, surrounded by phosphorescence,
scoop one up, toss it into the air, then
write me a letter confessing another sin.
Rebecca Schumejda is the author of Cadillac Men (NYQ Books, 2012) Falling Forward (sunnyoutside, 2009); From Seed to Sin (Bottle of Smoke Press, 2011), 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.