by Rebecca Schumejda
How to Reattach Icarus’s Wings
The newspaper says your father stumbled in front of a car,
was drunk, his destination unknown;
no wings, not even a single, waxy feather stuck to his back,
no witnesses, no autopsy results yet, just speculation
and a relative’s words turned inside out by a journalist
who never met him until assigned the story.
I could barely read the offhanded comments about how
your mother died of cervical cancer, leaving you and
your siblings behind with a man who couldn’t follow
directions for microwavable meals, how his construction
business and second marriage fell apart, how after the death
of his parents, he found comfort in liquor juxtaposed by how he
“was always the kind of guy who was the life of the party.”
I wonder where the journalist is now while your family and
friends gather in a veteran’s hall on a warm December evening
to celebrate the life of the man her words condemned.
If she were here, would she scribble down notes
as the Reverend speaks about how your father helped
people who he knew couldn’t pay for his work
and looked for nothing in return?
Would she sign her name in the guest book, look up
at the wall to appreciate the large black and white photo
of him when he was a young man, buck-naked,
suspended in midair like Icarus above
the body of water waiting to receive him?
How to Drive an Old Car
I open the dusty slats of the blinds with my fingers, so I can
watch the man across the street argue with his new, younger wife
about all the things he expected she would do that his ex didn’t.
After she drives off in the red convertible, he bought to lure her in,
I turn on the shower and wait for the water to run warm.
Looking down, I spy a cluster of gray pubic hairs. I am not that old,
but I am not that young either. I am my husband’s to-do list:
a thunderous muffler that needs silencing, a much needed tune up,
and a new battery. Luckily, my husband is a mechanical genius,
his car is parked a few blocks away, on a hill, so that he can
pop start it if it won’t cooperate. He knows replacement is futile,
new cars lose their value as soon as you drive them off the lot.
Rebecca Schumejda is the author of Cadillac Men, a full-length collection of poems (NYQ Books, 2012) Falling Forward, a full-length collection of poems (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 and online at: http://www.nyqbooks.org/author/rebeccaschumejda and www.rebeccaschumejda.com
Painting: Juan Pablo Bavio – detail from NIÑA MELANCOLICA