Poem: An Apology to Oatmeal

Close-up on a blue bowl of oatmeal topped with fresh chopped strawberries and a large dollop of peanut butter

An Apology to Oatmeal

I hated oatmeal.
At least, I believed I did.
Thinking of oatmeal made me shudder.
People offering oatmeal made me gag.
The idea was as repulsive as the food.
Everything about it said:

And then one day, in a very different summer,
Than the one we are currently enduring,
I was offered oatmeal again.
This oatmeal was made with love and intention.
It had dark cherries and honey and a few small
Dark chocolate chips.
Everything about it said:

I didn’t believe it was the oatmeal.
I was just entranced by a weekend full of
Good people and good thoughts and good art.
And besides, it was the only option for breakfast.
And only coffee wasn’t going to be good enough.
Everything inside me said:

And then, in the throes of the pandemic, amidst a baking spree,
In which rolled oats were required for a number of sweet treats,
There was a morning that I plodded into the kitchen,
And grabbed the oatmeal.
Everything inside me said:

And with the first warm bite of oats cooked in water, mixed with fresh fruit, I realized something.
When I thought of oatmeal – the oatmeal I hated – I didn’t think of oatmeal.
I thought of sad brown packages strewn across a Formica counter. I thought of a water cooler that had a “hot” feature, and that “hot” feature meant you needed to stack three flimsy paper bowls together to still risk burning your hands (just not as badly as if you only used one). I thought of the plastic spoon that dipped in and out of the mushy, flavorless mess as I scrolled through mushy, flavorless emails.
Oatmeal was not bland.
Oatmeal was not sad.
Oatmeal was not bad.
But life was.

So, this morning, I made oatmeal.
I served it in a dark blue ceramic bowl that reminds me of my bridal shower.
I topped it with fresh local strawberries that sing the sweetness of summertime.
I added a swirl of creamy peanut butter for richness.
And I ate it at my dining room table – no phone, no emails, no distractions.
Everything about this oatmeal said:
Because life is.


  1. There’s only one thing wrong with this charming poem : the title! Why apologize? Oatmeal is honored, privileged, appreciated and delighted by your tribute. She just told me so, her voice somewhat muffled by yoghout, nuts, applesauce and blueberries.


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