Melancholy and Joy Walk into a Bar
One after the other, and Joy says to Melancholy,
yesterday in my buttery yellow kitchen with sun streaming
across the linoleum I fried a farm fresh egg to perfection. I felt so alive.
Then Melancholy says – at the same time I remembered
my father’s inability to recognize an egg at the end of his life.
Get it? – then Joy looks at the bartender and says
for instance, when I turn my face towards the sky
to bask in the winter sun through the Aspens…
Melancholy interrupts Joy, and says – and it hits me
how my mother will never feel the sun on her face again.
Maybe I am confusing melancholy and joy
with gloom and contentment, or the commonplace
falling ass-backwards into the miraculous.
Anyway it goes on and on like this, you know?
I forget the punchline. Maybe there isn’t one.
It’s like the little paper flip books you bought as a kid;
the sedate girl in her Mary Janes holding a bouquet
of purple balloons floats effortlessly
off the page while you flip and flip and flip.
Tina Schumann is a Pushcart nominated poet and the author of three poetry collections, Praising the Paradox (Red Hen Press, 2019) which was a finalist in the National Poetry Series, Four Way Books Intro Prize, and the Julie Suk Award, Requiem. A Patrimony of Fugues (Diode Editions, 2017) which won the Diode Editions Chapbook Competition and As If (Parlor City Press, 2010) which was awarded the Stephen Dunn Poetry Prize. She is editor of the IPPY-award winning anthology Two Countries. U.S. Daughters and Sons of Immigrant Parents (Red Hen, 2017.) Schumann’s work received the 2009 American Poet Prize from The American Poetry Journal, finalist status in the Terrain.org annual poetry contest, as well as honorable mentions in The Atlantic, Crab Creek Review and The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award. She is the poetry editor for Wandering Aengus Press. Her poems have appeared widely since 1999, including The American Journal of Poetry, Ascent, Cimarron Review, Hunger Mountain Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Nimrod, Parabola, Palabra, Poetry Daily, Rattle, Verse Daily, and read on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac. www.tinaschumann.com