"About the Life You Imagine for Yourself" by Cathy Allman

You live with pantries of expired food,
a refrigerator with moldy cheese,
frost on the imported coffee ice cream,
and only one day left until the milk sours.

You walk the dog, but it’s pre-dawn cold.
Only weeks ago, it was humid and bright.
The porch light doesn’t work
even though you changed the bulb.

You replaced the smoke alarm batteries
the way you’re supposed to
when Daylight Savings is over.
You sleep through the hour gained.

The flashlight is a small weapon against the moon,
and your glass of wine a tiny defense against
what? When you had it, whatever that it was,
you thought you were

too fat or your kids wouldn’t listen
or your husband worked too much
or you didn’t work enough.
But now you have a granddaughter,

your husband’s retired, you’ve
built a new dream house,
and moved to Florida just
because you’re tired of snow.

The thing is, there’s stuff you live with
that’s over and gone. What you believed
was a so long turned into a goodbye.



Cathy Allman received her MFA in Creative Writing from Manhattanville College. Her work has appeared in many fine literary journals including Bluestem Magazine, California Quarterly, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Pearl, The Potomac Review, Terminus and Town Creek Poetry. Her poem, "Not in the Wonder Box" has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Posted on March 11, 2018 .