A Recession of the Heart

by Rebecca Schumejda

For Jeffery

Rain and the Dow Jones fell
relentlessly for three consecutive days.
No one at the pool hall
realized you were missing;
if they did, they didn't say so.
Mostly people complained
about the cost of living, the weather,
the way the balls rolled for them.
People take shelter in the chambers
of their own receding hearts.

On Monday, someone stole
the hand soap from the bathroom.
On Tuesday, Bernanke shook
his rain-stick tongue announcing
federal cuts for short-term lending.
On Wednesday, a wolf in a wool sweater
came in itching for a money game;
Mikey convinced him he was a little pig
then made some brick off of him.

Earlier today, Old Two-Shoes,
the crazy woman,
who wears mismatched flats,
stood outside the pool hall
on the yellow dividing line,
waving her umbrella at oncoming traffic,
screaming: "evacuate, evacuate,
this world is drowning in injustice."
The cops that took her away
chuckled as they locked her in.
Today, I overhear two people
arguing over whether your death
was a suicide, heart attack or overdose.
When they come up to pay,
they're three dollars short,
but promise they'll come right back.
After they leave, I fish through
a pile of old newspapers,
in search of answers, only to find out
who you really were from your obituary.

Rebecca Schumejda lives in New York's Hudson Valley with her husband and daughter. She received her BA in English from SUNY New Paltz and her MA in Poetics and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Her new collection Falling Forward was released from sunnyoutside press in February 2009. In addition, sunnyoustide published her chapbook Dream Big, Work Harder in November of 2006 and her poem "Logic" on a postcard. In 2001, Green Bean Press published her first chapbook The Tear Duct of The Storm. Currently she is working on a book of poems that explore the subculture of pool halls. For more information, visit her website at