Rebecca Schumejda


I hold my daughter after
she wakes from a nightmare.
Angry cats were chasing us,
she says, and you ran too fast.

She puts her arms around my neck
and sobs. She is convinced
that the tapping on the window is
an army of cats clawing their way in,
so I push aside the curtains

and show her raindrops
piercing the murky night, but this
does not ease her fears, so I tell her
about flowers we will plant,

snapdragons, that she can
pop her fingers into like puppets,
how she can open and close
their dragon-like mouths,
but she wants one right now.

I tell her how as a kid,
I knelt beside my father
as he pushed seeds into the ground,
and he told me anything worth
believing takes time.

Until harvest I had as little faith
in his words as she does in mine.
Right now, the nightmare is
vivid, the rain is not retractable
and she has never known
a flower that can breathe fire.

Rebecca Schumejda is the author of Falling Forward, a full-length collection 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).

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