By Robert Fanning

Maggie’s finishing a portrait
of our family, gluing googly eyes
       onto a stately stick figure

I hope is me. Now she doesn’t know
who to play with, as other kids,
       pockets full of posies,

all fall down. She wears my face
superimposed. I almost tap
       the glass, point her toward

the boy with yellow trucks.
Lost, she stares out the window
       toward the snow-humped pines

beyond the playground.
When I’m dead, I hope there’ll be a thin pane
       such as this between us. I’ll stand forever

out in the dark to watch my grown children
move through their bright rooms.
       Maybe just once they’ll cup

their hands against the glass, caught
by some flicker or glint,
       a slant of light touching their faces.

(Today’s poem originally appeared in Rattle and appears here today with permission from the poet.)

Robert Fanning is the author of American Prophet (Marick Press), The Seed Thieves (Marick Press) and Old Bright Wheel (Ledge Press Poetry Award). His poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, The Atlanta Review, and other journals. A graduate of the University of Michigan and Sarah Lawrence College, he is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Central Michigan University. He is also the founder and facilitator of the Wellspring Literary Series in Mt. Pleasant, MI., where he lives with his wife, sculptor Denise Whitebread Fanning, and their two children. To read more of his work, visit

Editor’s Note: Today’s poem is dedicated to my father, who I know is watching me through the glass. I see you in every flicker and glint, now and always.

Want to read more by and about Robert Fanning?
Robert Fanning’s Website
Poems Featured in Journals
Youtube: Robert Fanning Reading at Poetry@Tech Series, Atlanta, GA
Robert Fanning Interviewed by Grace Cavalieri on “The Poet and the Poem,” at The Library of Congress
Buy Robert Fanning’s Books via SPD

About Sivan Butler-Rotholz

Sivan is the Managing Editor of the Saturday Poetry Series on As It Ought To Be and holds an MFA from Brooklyn College. She is a professor, writer, editor, comic artist, and attorney emerita. She is also the founder of Reviving Herstory. Sivan welcomes feedback, poetry submissions, and solicitations of her writing via email at sivan.sf [at] gmail [dot] com.
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  1. Maya Elashi says:

    it doesn’t surprise me that you, too, appreciate this line:
    ‘when I’m dead, I hope there’ll be a thin pane such as this between us. I’ll stand forever.”
    I, too.

  2. I love that line and concept, It feels exciting and comforting, I feel relieved to have an avenue to keep in touch with my children after I’m “gone”. I love watching them now and will continue to watch them forever. My favorite thing to do! Dee Trainor

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