The Next Generation

by Cathy Allman

I pace in front of the mercury glass mirror,
hold her, try to memorize us,
if only a flicker. She’s surprised to see herself.

She studies our reflection
with those eyes that are like yours,
that are like mine in color and shape,

but not exactly ours. Your daughter
likes when I sing to her, the way you did.
It’s possible, likely even, but still uncertain

that we’ll sell your childhood home, not for money,
but for the permission to let go. I’ve been keeping rooms
the way they were when you grew up,

storing your clothes and term papers, some trophies.
It’s not your childhood I hesitate to step away from
nor your Captain Picard’s costume

when you explored worlds beyond this one,
and you cared so much about
the characters you’d pretended to be.

It’s not even the planet of woods
that you moved through beyond the bedroom window,
it’s my fear of what we’ll all become.


Cathy Allman entered the writing field as a reporter after attending the school of Cinema and Television at the University of Southern California and earned an MFA from Manhattanville College. She has reinvested in her writing, and she teaches creativity workshops at high schools and at her Connecticut office. Her poem, “Not in the Wonder Box” has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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