May 11

A Nightmare is a Body and Your Father Gone

By Katie Schmid

A nightmare is a Body and your Father gone,
& time is the road you travel to him.

& in The Body clocks all stopped & in The Body
time unclocked & “doing time”—the father does it

& you—The Body—do it too. The Body is heavy
now with time, with all the stories told of time:

“It’s not so long,” & “Don’t forget,” & sweetest—
“there will still be time,” those myths against

time’s length & memory & grief.
The father’s body clocks his time

in letters, in lost hair, lost teeth, in muscle gained &
places secret, unseen, unknown and loved—

The Body holds its time inside, an organ called
the gonefather: that little velvet pocket & a cloud

cast on the heart, & you don’t know how
to say it but The Body can, it must,

Body clinging to the bodies of The Uncles,
those fathers of children not-you.

Sweet brittle persistent body,

clutching the father’s artifacts & dust,
eating the father’s letters until sick with glut.

Body your very composition is an absence,
& lay you down to sleep in his t-shirts,

& be now the child & be the father both,
& hold your little self & hold the gonefather

at your center, & make of it a timeless world:
throw up your firmament of eternal tears.

The lack at the heart of you is your making, the lack
at the heart of you is where you learn to make.



Katie Schmid’s book is forthcoming from University of New Mexico Press in Fall 2021. More of her writing can be found at


Art by Michelle Johnsen, art editor

Michelle Johnsen is a nature and portrait photographer in Lancaster, PA, as well as an amateur herbalist and naturalist. Her work has been featured by It’s Modern Art, Susquehanna Style magazine, Permaculture Activist magazine,, EarthFirst! Journal, Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, and used as album art for Grandma Shake!, Anna & Elizabeth, and Liz Fulmer Music. Michelle’s photos have also been stolen by, The Daily Mail, and Lancaster Newspapers. You can contact her at mjphoto717 [at]