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.