Karen Schoemer

Summer Perches About Its Wane

In the kitchen the sun
goes down. Light shafts
retreat from the darkening

living room. Cicada hum
of appliances, moth-wing dust.
Another season is about to drop.

I’m not ready. I never am.
I remember lying side by side
on the rose quilt, tucking breast

away from clutching hands,
her eyes birth blue, not yet
having learned to accuse.

The noonday glares. Arms
raised to hit. Snow in November,
an early spring. The unpredictable

cycles of tenderness, each little
coming and going a test. I love her
like a long-distance runner.

Now I hear footsteps upstairs,
bedroom to hallway mirror,
a pause for mascara, eyeliner,

concealer. Then the rush down,
heavy boots smacking treads,
cat racing ahead on soft paws.

She grabs her purse from a chair.
Kisses my head. Says, Be back later.
Slams the door. Outside, sky

purple and unconcerned.
Cat settles on the rug,
lifts a leg to wash.


Karen SchoemerKaren Schoemer is a poet and author living in Columbia County, New York. Her poems have appeared in Chronogram and Zephyrs: The Journal of the Millay Society. “Julia in Her Room” received honorable mention in the 2012 Hudson Valley Writers Guild poetry contest. She has been a featured reader at the Sunday Four Poetry Series in Voorheesville, NY and the Second Saturday series in Woodstock, NY. Her music criticism has appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. She is the author of Great Pretenders: My Strange Love Affair with ‘50s Pop Music, published by Free Press in 2006, and her music writing has appeared in several anthologies, including Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen and Innocent When You Dream: The Tom Waits Reader. She is the vocalist for the Schoemer Formation, a psychedelic trio which performs at the Low Beat in Albany, BSP Lounge in Kingston, and the Half Moon Saloon in Hudson.

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