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Cathy Allman


The Princess of Vines in a Dreamscape with Flowers by Thomas Nordwest

This décor is supposed to be a blank canvas,
but I haven’t picked an accent color.
I write in the tinged bareness of not-white.
Ironic that my husband and I age
in modern architecture. In this house

we built to retire in, our dream house,
there are switches to ignite fire.
Press a button, flames, heat. The fireplace is gas,
so are the fire bowls, the stove top, the pool heater
and the generator. The propane tank is buried.

The houses on this street have all been built
within the past twenty years—a new community
of old people. The houses are painted sunny colors.
The driveways are flat, our land parcels
measure the same dimensions.

After happy hour and dinner, we stream versions
of celebrity life. We like blurred fiction—The Crown,
drama of questionable taste on the heels
of the Queen’s death. All the talk about modernizing
the monarch. Monarchs weren’t created to be modern.

When I don’t watch what the NYT tells me trends
or what Rotten Tomatoes calculates matches
our viewing habits, I revert to childhood
shows in reruns. The dead actors live again.
The black-and-white helps me sleep at night.


About the writer:
Cathy Allman entered the writing field as a reporter after attending the School of Cinema and Television at the University of Southern California. Her poem “Not in the Wonder Box” has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Allman’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Avalon Literary Review, Blue Earth Review, California Quarterly (CQ), Diverse Voices Quarterly, Elysian Fields, Flights, Glint Literary Journal, Hawaii Pacific Review, I-70 Review, La Presa, The Meadow, On Location, Pearl, Poydras Review, The Opiate, Origins Journal, Pennsylvania English, Peregrine, Pisgah Review, Pudding Magazine, The Round, Sanskrit, Sequestrum, Slab, Third Wednesday, Virginia Normal, and Word Riot.

Image: The Princess of Vines in a Dreamscape with Flowers by Thomas Nordwest (contemporary). Digital art illustration created with MidJourney. 2022. By free license.

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