Sober on a Snowy Day by Rebecca Schumejda


Sober on a Snowy Day

Outside cars tiptoe
through snow.
Aristotle’s on table four
and his soapbox again,
talking about how he
sees things, you know.
He says that prison
does that to a person,
makes them sober
on a snowy day.

He stirs air,
thick like old coffee,
with the tip of his cue
and launches off
into a dramatic monologue
about social injustices.

The men playing
on the next table
listen with their eyes.
Outside a truck
throws salt onto icy streets
and men wrapped up
in financial depression
walk past on their way
to the closest bar.

On the radio, Thelonious Monk
attacks piano keys, backs off,
then returns; his silences
are silly little tricks
that make Aristotle nervous.

Even though he’s on step four,
Aristotle sneaks out to his car
to shotgun a beer
and smoke a cigarette.
Back inside,
he uses the shadow
of his stick to line up shots.
When he misses,
he leans into the table
and whispers inaudibly
to his ghost opponent.

Once he likened his life
to a snow globe that
some stupid, mother fucker
keeps picking up and shaking.
I like that metaphor, I really do
like that metaphor.

                – Rebecca Schumejda
                   from Words Dance 12, Fall 2008 & her book, Cadillac Men.