Tuesday, October 2, 2012

818 West Ash

Yellow, white trimmed, bungalow-style,
It doesn't seem like much.
But seeing the house at 818 West Ash
Reminds me that once
You bought it with her
Had dreams of filling it with kids,
Landscaping the backyard with field stone
From your family's farm.

And after she left
Sitting in the living room
We drank icy Bud Lights
From glass bottles clinking on our teeth
I tried to make you laugh
Because I hated to see a grown man cry
You smirked, commenting that now
You could afford to install central air.

I see now that it never got done,

Along with the landscaping of field stone
In the backyard.
I wonder if the family who owns 
Your house now realizes
That a good man lived there once,
Dreamed to the hum of a window air conditioner
And gave everything he had to offer
For his country in a foreign land.


Catherine Schmidt

Monday, October 1, 2012


Buzzards, I think,
As I stand off to the side,
Detaching myself from the moment,
Not wanting to take part in the carnage.
    They, we, are like buzzards.
Picking at the bones,
Cracking them to get to the marrow.
Pulling at bits of flesh, each wanting our own piece
    Buzzards do not consider
That this carcass was once a living thing
It is only sustenance.
The past life does not matter now.
    I am like a buzzard too.
I want my piece of her, of the past.
My grandmother's quilt, my grandfather's Army medals.
The bread pans she used every Sunday, a shelf he made for her.
    We pick and pull, we scavengers.
I am disgusted by us, by myself, our circling predation.
I still crave my bits, pieces of their lives to sustain my memories.
A buzzard I must be, or I will have nothing of them.
                    Catherine Schmidt

Friday, July 22, 2011

Prairie Molecules

I danced in the Atlantic today

Barefoot, the sand beneath my feet

The cold water rushing in waves,

Lapping the skin of my calves.

The thought occurs to me

That the waters that swirl about my feet

Were once the dew that evaporated

From the ocean of prairie far away.

And the molecules traveled eastward through the air

Fell as rain over this ocean

Mingling with the salt waters,

But still, retaining their original form

That was born in the morning dews

Of my prairie home.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Small Grain, Infinite Peace


I walk amidst the bearded barley
brushing the crested heads with my hands
I wade into the living sea of gold
and upon laying down,

gaze up at the blue sky
painted with wandering cirrus clouds
framed out by bowing, amber bearded heads
nodding in wondrous acknowledgement

of my peace.


Catherine Schmidt

Monday, April 25, 2011

R. Whalen Napping

West Hall is filled with geriatrics;

It seems the people that fill these offices,

Not one is under the age of fifty.

Older women dressed in sweaters and slacks

With Black Hills Gold earrings

And oversized gaudy necklaces

Dyed, perfectly styled hair.

Their desks strewn with pictures

Of children, and grandchildren

And comedic cats.

There is an office door which is almost always closed.

R. Whalen states the plaque.

The door when open, reveals an ancient man

In his eighties

His balding, liver spotted head

Resting on his chest in an afternoon nap.

Wearing a dignified navy blue sweater vest

Looking the part of the retired professor.

I wonder if he passed away, in his sleep

In that hot cramped office, would people notice

His leaving,

Or think he was merely napping?


Catherine Schmidt

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Flea Market Discovery

The dust is tickling my nose

As we rifle through the stacks

Of our youth, sorted by genre

And labeled with rummage sale stickers

Two dollars for my memory

Of dancing in the living room with Lizzy

To Baby Elephant Walk or

Fifteen for your late night excursions

Into the Strawberry Fields

Our memories are in these piles

Every pop, crack and needle slide

We gather them up,

Giggling at our discoveries

And drive away with our find

Dust-covered memories

For only $20.95.


Catherine Schmidt

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dawn in Winter


Skeletal branches are

Softened and shaded

By sparkling hoar frost

In the embrace of morning.


Stars trace impossible

Geometric patterns

Lacework against

The blue-black sky.


Venus is dancing,

Skipping and chasing

The moon across the sky

In flirtatious appreciation.


Catherine Schmidt