Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Last Child Leaving…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Children,Depression and Hope,Marriage and Family — Bob at 7:19 pm on Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© June 17, 2014


The last one is sleeping

On the other side of our wall

Room’s randomly strewn with:

Clothes, makeup, empty food containers

Dolls, stuffed animals

Mysterious bits and pieces of technology

Towels, towels, towels

Extinct schoolwork

Her present is passing

She is leaving


Exasperated, delighted, charmed, furious

All within a moment

We are bewildered

Our dog sleeps

Too old to notice

White muzzle periodically puffing

We want to talk

She is out, gone, busy

She wants to talk

We drop everything

She is leaving



She asks questions

Acts girlish

Drops the sophistication

Lets us see the real girl

Beautiful without paint

Wants to talk all night

The energy flows

Mostly from her to us

We try to pass on our experience

Warn her

Advise her

Encourage her

We try—really try—to stay awake

She is leaving



Older sister almost forty

Older brother thirty-five

Youngest sister thirty-three

Our children have children

She is seventeen

Our parenthood extended

By decades

By her unexpected arrival

Her parents so different than theirs

We are wiser

We are older

We hurt for no reason

She is leaving



College brochures stacked in a corner

Surreptitiously read

When we are sleeping

Whispering into her phone

Fearful and giggling

Creeping toward independence

She: sees the endless vistas

We: see all the fences

Nursery school-Grammar school-High School

All lying together in the dust

In a corner of her bedroom

Irrelevant and shrinking

In her rear view mirror

Growing smaller

She is leaving



When she drives away

Out of her room

Out of our sight

Chaos leaving with her

From somewhere above us

A heavy curtain falls through Time

Bursting its rusty restraints

Our scheduled destinies resumed

Time, irritated

Has tolerated this delay

But only just

In her wake

Our dreaded transformation

Takes place in a wink

The parents disintegrate

Only grandparents live here now

She is gone



Robert M. Katzman is available for hire as a speaker and poet in the Chicago area for private groups and organizations

Contact him at theoldmagazinestore@icloud.com or, preferred: (847) 274-1474

This site has many stories and poems which I have written over the last seven years since Rick Munden asked me if I wanted to contribute to it with him.  Having a site like this makes a poet/writer want to write something.  Sometimes, that “something” is worth someone’s times.  I hope readers of this recent poem feel that way about it.  I have published five books, and sell them from my store in Skokie, Il.  I also ship them around the USA when someone wants one.  None are fiction.  I see them floating around the world on some used book sites, some for amazingly high prices!  I charge $25 per book, autographed to the purchaser, plus shipping. Sales tax only in Illinois.  If you like what you read here, please tell others.

I can be reached at : The Old Magazine Store .com  4906 Oakton St.  Skokie, Il  60077 (847) 677-9444 and at:



Comment by Brad Dechter

June 26, 2014 @ 6:33 am

I feel my pain empathizing with you, so you certainly got your point across. I cannot wait until my grand daughter is that old- hopefully not living with us because of her own parents- but I know when she is with me, it’ll tear my heart out when she leaves. your situation here is different, but I can feel the pain, albeit understated.

Comment by Amy Zagroba

June 26, 2014 @ 6:34 am

Loved it!!! How beautiful, honest, and poignant. Thanks for sharing!

Comment by Steve Adler

June 26, 2014 @ 6:48 am

Another life cycle event well noted.

As Ogden Nash once said (?) you’re a poet and you know it!

Each of these bring back all sorts of memories and sustains them.

Comment by David Griesemer

June 26, 2014 @ 10:06 am

Another hard-hitting bolt of love. Equal to any poetry from the modern era. If it never garners commercial success, then – to paraphrase Lincoln – may you be left with the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of art.

Comment by Bob

June 26, 2014 @ 1:30 pm

David, thank you for such amazing words, but Lincoln? Don’t wanna get shot to get remembered, my friend.

Comment by Helene

June 26, 2014 @ 6:41 pm

Nine years. Just nine more years til Alex flies.
I’m enjoying the parenting sequel much more than the first go round.
But how fast times does fly.
Great as always

Comment by Don Larson

June 26, 2014 @ 8:42 pm


Yeah, empty-nesting is a process. We only had to do it once.

From your eloquent description, I understand it doesn’t get any easier in subsequent rounds.

Your dog took it in stride. Take credit for the strength of your dog to lean upon as you need.

Hang in there, Bob. Better days are coming.

Warmest regards,


Comment by Stephen Rosenbaum

June 27, 2014 @ 2:54 pm

I enjoy both Mr. Katzman”s prose and poetry, having read several of his books and most of his poems. His most recent poem, about a child preparing to leave for college and the emotional reaction of parents is both poignant and brilliant. The author catches the emotional essence of this life experience.
Bob: my compliments, as always.I admire both your sensitivity and your talent.

Stephen Rosenbaum

Comment by NewMan from NewArk

September 1, 2015 @ 2:11 pm

As always, Bubba, nice stuff. Tres cool.

Comment by Brad Dechter

September 2, 2015 @ 8:04 am

OK- this time I cried.I am getting to old to feel these wounds again. At least one of my sons has moved back into Long Beach so we have time together.

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