Posted November 1, 2017.

2017 Fall Contest Winner: 1st Place, Poet’s Choice

Don’t Bother the Flowers


When grandma told me

to stop buying her flowers

I didn’t know what to do

with the daffodils

I was holding in my hand.

Should I throw them

in the garbage disposal,

or put them in a vase?

I started worrying

about flowers withering,

stalks drooping, shriveled

leaves, and dried up petals

falling to their death.

Swiveling around the kitchen

in the lime green padded chair

I noticed the striped yellow wallpaper

matched the crocheted place mats,

the napkin holders, the quilted toaster cover.

I wasn’t supposed to touch anything—

her notepads, grocery lists, paper clipped


the newspaper obituaries

of people she didn’t know

marked and highlighted

with a red felt tipped pen.




Sherri Levine is a poet and short fiction writer. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she teaches English as a Second Language to adult immigrants and refugees at Portland Community College. Her work has been published in the Timberline Review, the Hartskill Review, VoiceCatcher, and Sun Magazine. Currently, she is the Poetry Editor of VoiceCatcher magazine. She escaped the long harsh winters of upstate New York and has ever since been happily soaking in the Oregon rain.

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