Marin Poetry Center

Yesterday's Red Plaid Flannel

By Talia Harrison

Inspired by “Ruth” by Forrest Gander

Your grandmother stands monotone
with her stale attention looking for
anything else to engage with
but the conversation,
almost as torpid
as Grandpa himself.

He rests
wearing yesterday’s red
plaid flannel. No one believes
that I made those
sculptures myself, 
he remarks
You give a fake smile,
the least you can do is humor him
as the conversation circles back
to the weather, to his mother, to one of the few
other topics he can remember.
Guilt sits in your chest,
because your heart cannot fake the care
your nodding head and engaged eyes offer.
Your mother’s perennial
attention makes you wonder
if she is too an actress.

Your grandmother’s greatest worry is driving her dog to the vet,
your sister’s on where the nearest Baskin Robbins is,
your father’s on comforting your tearful mother,
while the man you pass on your escape out the door sits patiently,
waiting for his daughter Poppy,
not remembering that she had just dropped him off.

Third Place: Talia Harrison
Urban School

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