Stacie McCall Whitaker - Stone Coast, Maine

Zero-Sum Game

Written By: Cathy Allman

My hairdresser Sophia from Morocco told me
about two angels in Islam.
One keeps a tally of good; the other of evil.

When she spun my chair toward the mirror,
she spoke about the line
all must walk: “The path is thinner than a hair.”

And what I think of is my father, who kept
a ledger under the kitchen sink
between the dish soap and drain cleaner.

On the left column, he’d drawn a stick figure
with wings and a halo; on the right
a figure with horns and a pitchfork.

Last night I woke in another cold sweat
with secrets I’ve written, small details
I told myself no one would ever see—

Thanksgivings with gin gimlets
instead of gratitude. Fear
that my father would wake up

angry, so drunk he’d pee in the closet.
I was young. He kept score.

About the Author

Cathy Allman / Stonecoast Review / Issue 7 / Summer 2017 / Poetry / Zero-Sum Game

Cathy Allman earned her MFA from Manhattanville College.  Her work has appeared in Blue Earth Review, California Quarterly, Crack the Spine, Front Range Review, Potomac Review, Sanskrit, Talking River, Terminus, Town Creek Poetry and Word Riot, among other journals.