And This, That Feeling Again

Because this feeling does not discriminate,
it is silly to think we were ever alone with this,
that feeling again. When we know there are
infinite religions depending on definition.

I brush my teeth every time I walk into my bathroom.
I kneel on the kitchen floor when I retrieve
a beer from the fridge. I am sorry like you are
for something right now. I am ashamed of
a lover, whose chest I will never fall asleep on,
but will fantasize about until I’ve memorized
every pore as if it were Braille
and read his thoughts with my fingertips
until he becomes my bible. And this, that feeling,

the one that comes and goes and comes and
goes like the belief that somehow we matter.

Kingston Point Beach, Late October

“Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
        -Edgar Allan Poe

With a piece of driftwood, my daughter
draws an imperfect circle in cold sand,
around the first another, then another,
each one emphasizing the other’s irregularities—
like poorly constructed truths, tree rings,
that grow disproportionately, a history of mistakes.

As she tosses beach rocks up at seagulls,
knowing I taught her how to trick bats
in the same vein, I think of your tongue
arched as if in flight, changing directions
in the rubber room of your mouth.

It is hypocritical of me to dig in
with my heel and draw a square around
your circles, a door that I close.
I look past her as she chases seagulls
up and down the beach, crying when they
won’t wave back at her—instead they loop
chaotically like my convictions,
an out of control kite, all that we want

but cannot have. If it would change
the way you both felt I would say:
baby, those birds would fall right out of the sky
if they stopped to acknowledge you,
but neither of you can feel this October breeze,
the way I do, how it pushes inside me
gets trapped under my skin like a flock
of goose bumps terrorizing me.

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).

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.

Currently, she is working on a collection of poems exploring the pool hall subculture, inspired by her short-lived experience as a co-owner of a pool hall.

She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and daughter. She teaches at an alternative high school program in Hudson, NY.

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