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November 20, 2022

Two Poems

Nicole Tallman


After Victoria Chang

Fall—died on January 3, 2006, when I officially moved to Florida. Fall was my mother’s favorite season before she died. I think it was probably mine, too. But I’m no longer sure what I love. Do I just love everything that my mother did? The leaves falling from trees turning blue.

They say blue is the warmest color, but I say it’s orange. My mother painted so many stills of trees. She said her favorite color was red, but she painted all the leaves bright orange. I never asked her why. I was too self-absorbed to ask her much of anything.

When my friend Laura mailed me two of my dead mother’s paintings, I cried for days. All the bright orange I remembered had faded to brown. My mother hated brown. I fingered the canvases of our past for clues. They told me to look inside.



is eating a whole bag of Twizzlers by yourself or an entire box of Otter Pops, save the Poncho Punch because I don’t like fruit punch, even less so after I witnessed a friend vomit an entire jug of Hawaiian punch onto the seat of a Ferris wheel in high school.

Do you remember when National Pax tried to replace Sir Isaac Lime with Scarlett O’Cherry and a Stanford professor accused the company of otter-cide? I don’t either, but I remember reading about it later.

What is your favorite summer memory and why is it tied to food? (Proust might have a clue.) Is it a picnic or a BBQ? Is it paddleboating around a lake sharing a box of Nerds? Is it eating too many s’mores or hotdogs by a bonfire?

My grandma used to make me a lemon pineapple cake with whipped cream frosting every year for my birthday in July. She worked in a bakery after my grandpa died. It never really feels like summer, or my birthday, without that cake, but I still try.

When did summer die for you?