Plea Bargain / On My Brother’s Third Birthday in Prison / On My Youngest Daughter’s Third Birthday

by Rebecca Schumejda

Plea Bargain

A blue jay flew into our front window
another watches from a tree branch
as a shadowy figure looms over
its stunned mate. 
How often do you think you know
where you are going
swear the reflection is sky
not glass?

On My Brother’s Third Birthday in Prison

I will never tell him how
the further I get away from him,
the closer I get to understanding
the pain he caused or how today
I drove the 205 miles 
to see him, just to sit in my car
staring at the razor wire and gun tower
until visiting hours were over.

On My Youngest Daughter’s Third Birthday

I think about you as she blows out her candles, 
how you held her just once 
while you were in county awaiting trial. 
She will always be six months younger 
than the crime you committed
and I am embarrassed to admit 
that’s how I keep track of how long you’ll be away. 

Rebecca Schumejda is the author of several full-length collections including Falling Forward (sunnyoutside press), Cadillac Men (NYQ Books), Waiting at the Dead End Diner (Bottom Dog Press) and most recently Our One-Way Street (NYQ Books). She is currently working on a book forthcoming from Stubborn Mule Press. She is the co-editor at Trailer Park Quarterly. She received her MA in Poetics from San Francisco State University and her BA from SUNY New Paltz. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her family.