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Pam Schmid

Remains of My Father

Oatmeal clotting in silver Revere Ware;
raisins in bed on a cinnamon crust;
a brown coffee cup waiting,
like outstretched hands,
to be filled.

Three untouched bowls linger
beside folded napkins that absorb
the light pouring in through window panes.

I have gazed out from here
countless mornings
in stupored stillness.
Downstairs, the seconds pile up.
They fill my hollow,
silent places.

Earlier, I watched red lights
twitch through the trees
with indifference—as if time held no grudges.
They wheeled him down the driveway
in his bruised baseball cap,
crazed heart gurneyed
through flung-open doors

and gone.

He would return, cadence steadied,
unaware that later a congealed
lung would claim him.

Only then would I remember his words:
Humans must be wired this way.

They prepare oatmeal,
unfold business sections,
trust the unflinching beat.

Only when grazed by loss
can we delight again
over cinnamon-flecked bites.

Only when the rhythms change
do we find our lost hearts.


After spending many years in journalism as a sports and features writer, Pamela Schmid is completing her Masters of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at Hamline University. Her prose and poetry have appeared in Sweet and Rock, Paper Scissors. She lives with her husband and son in St. Paul.