Cathy Allman / Poetry 6.2 / Fall, 2018




My grown daughter, the teacher,
asks what’s for dinner.
I want to make what she craves
but my mushroom soup

is an embarrassment
though it’s smooth and needs no salt.
At the table we talk, sometimes
tears spill like chicken gravy.

If I were a prophet, I’d know
how a poppy seed blooms red,
but I see only a small black dot.

We slice bread, spread butter.
If I’d learn to listen, I’d know
her stories have answers I forgot.

She talks about new math
and word problems and proofs,
science—all solutions of the natural
world without an equal sign.

She tells me how she feels
when she’s not sure
her students understand
the lesson, the riddle—

is X greater than Y
when Y has the most to lose
and X has more to give?

I worry, not if I’m right
or even if I’m wrong,
but when she leaves
the table, is she starved,
or can I still feed her?

Cathy Allman entered the writing field as a reporter after attending the school of Cinema and Television at the University of Southern California. While her career shifted gears from writing to advertising and marketing, she never stopped writing or attending workshops, eventually earning an MFA from Manhattanville College. She’s reinvested in her writing, teaching creativity workshops at high schools and at her Connecticut office. Allman’s poem, “Not in the Wonder Box” has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.


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