The Prisoner’s Pocket Watch: A poem by Rebecca Schumejda

By Rebecca Schumejda

The Prisoner’s Pocket Watch

The silver engraved pocket watch I gave you for your graduation
rests like a prisoner in a cell, waiting for someone to open the latch
and discover its sunken face and trembling hands.  No one is sure
when your brain stopped working the way a brain is supposed to
or when the heart of my offering stopped beating. The medications
they give you to control your schizophrenia will never make what
happened go away, and even though mom will probably not
be alive when your time’s done, she saves the watch for you.

Rebecca Schumejda is the author of several poetry collections including Falling Forward (sunny outside press, 2009), Cadillac Men (NYQ Books, 2012), Waiting at the Dead End Diner (Bottom Dog Press, 2014), as well as five chapbooks. Her new collection Our One-Way Street is forthcoming from NYQ Press. She received her MA in poetics from San Francisco State University. She currently lives with her family in New York’s Hudson Valley.

One comment

  1. This poem hit home with me as I had an uncle with paranoid schizophrenia. I liked how Rebecca Schumejda gives only clues to the nature of tragedy, but leaves us with a tangible reminder of the hopes that have been abandoned due to the onset of mental illness.


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