Talia Grossman’s “Flowers for Sarah” and Michelle Chin’s “It’s Nothing, That’s Wrong”

Flowers for Sarah

by Talia Grossman

David says “flowers might be nice.”

His face, a worn map of waiting rooms.
His eyes, reels of prescriptions,
tired of doctors playing the slots.

He can’t decide between tulips or canterbury bells,
between yellow, pink, or purple.

I think they all look nice, but 
David wants to make the very best choice:
blossoms cheerful for now, and enough
buds for the impending future.

“Longevity is what we’re going for,” he says.

* Writing Prompt: Pay attention to the feelings and experiences of the people you care about. Writing, like paying attention, is an act of love. Strong feelings fuel communication and writing. Write about what sadness looks like in your best friend or what excitement looks like in a child you know. Do their actions unwittingly reveal their inner world?

It’s Nothing, That’s Wrong

by Michelle Chin

Bare shelves, bustling aisles 
of empty hands which reach 
into void, into panic 
pulling us apart at the touch 
frenzy leaves no space 
until we want it to 

in covid, governors, presidents, ministers 
share two masks: 
one to protect people, 
one to protect ego. 
they ration out the remainder. 

in response, the restless wrestle over resources over air— 
endangered by both 
nourished by neither 
they evacuate 
when they can 

distance thick as disease 
six feet keeping us at necessary unease 
now city streets look like grocery shelves 
paper goods are gone along with the bustling of our feet now there is only the void between you, between me 

Nothing. There is Nothing. 
So how can there be wrong? 
mind the gap, but do not touch. 
It’s Nothing, it’s Nothing 
It’s Nothing, that’s wrong.

* Writing Prompt: Write about nothing in the most something way there is. How has an absence created an intangible presence in your life?

Talia Grossman

Talia Grossman is a speech therapist and poet in the Boston area. She uses poetry to process life. Poetry always makes her feel better. You can find more of her work in Muddy River Poetry Review Spring 2020 Edition, the upcoming Somerville Poetry Open 2021 Book (proceeds benefit the Somerville High School Graduating Seniors Scholarship Fund), and sometimes as an email surprise if you are her friend 🙂 This past year she enjoyed presenting poetry through the Somerville Arts Council Art at Home series and Mass Poetry’s recent U35 Festival Edition. Ways that Tali works on her craft and makes her poetry happen include writing with her writing group when someone is available; picking random poetry books out at the library and stores when there is no pandemic; listening to RattleCast, Poetry Unbound, and OnBeing; auditing Pine Manor College MFA creative writing classes when they let you, participating in Grubstreet workshops, attending Mass Poetry Festival events, pulling over on the side of the road, and spending less time on “productive” things like sleep and work. Sometimes a poem is the best thing about her day.

Michelle Chin

Michelle Chin is a Boston-based writer. She holds a BA in English/Creative Writing and French from Wellesley College, and she now works in the nonprofit sector. When she isn’t writing or telling herself to write, she enjoys taking walks in gardens and making sky-high ice cream cones for her grandma. You can find her on Instagram: @shethinkslovely.