Your First Birthday Behind Bars
No one sang happy birthday,
baked a cake, sent cards or gifts.
Instead the howling of captive men
pushed into you like air
forced into a balloon.
You savored acrid instant coffee
and stale cinnamon rolls
purchased from the commissary.
In lieu of streamers, one of your
cellmates fashioned chains
out of pieces of yellow legal paper,
which only added insult to injury.
When you call, you tell me
not to worry, you are bulking up
for the long years ahead
as if applying papier-mâché to a piñata.
About the Author: Rebecca Schumejda is the author of Waiting at the Dead End Diner (Bottom Dog Press, 2014), Cadillac Men (NYQ Books, 2012), and Falling Forward (sunnyoutside, 2009). Her new collection Our One-Way Street is forthcoming from NYQ Books. 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 currently lives in New York’s Hudson Valley. Follow her work here.