“A Room with a Prayer” by Karen Schoemer

Carrozza 1

She wears green eye shadow. Sea-green eye shadow from her lashes to her brows. A crocheted sweater that exactly matches the eye shadow. A patterned skirt that exactly matches the sweater and the eye shadow.

She’s super-coordinated. The coordination strikes me as intentional. She’s chosen her outfit for its effect, although her idea of its effect and mine are probably different. It’s a trap, an assertion of control.

She reminds me of my Italian cousins. Square brick houses on tight suburban streets with Madonnas-in-bathtubs on front lawns. She has a mouth like Cher, glossy and pink. I can’t stop staring at her. I’m fascinated.

I despise her. I wish I was in Newark. I can see the entrance to the train station, the dirty tan stone steps. Hunched men in shadows and the late night underground glare. I can walk right past them or stop. I know I’m going to stop.


Schoemer_Karen1.JPGKaren Schoemer is a poet, author and performer living in Columbia County, New York. She was the inaugural Virginia Scholar at Instarlodge in Germantown in the fall of 2016, and her poem “November Sun” won first prize in the 2015 Hudson Valley Writers Guild poetry contest. She is vocalist for the bands Sky Furrows, Jaded Azurites and the Schoemer Formation.





Photo: Untitled by Laura Carrozza