In Mall Flower, poet and writer Tina Barry mixes poems and short fiction to record a life – childhood, youth, and adulthood. This artful combination of two literary forms also suggests a question: is there a difference between the two?
These 35 poems and (very) short stories – almost all are less than a page – follow in roughly chronological order. From the beginning we know that this is the story of a child in a broken family abandoned by the father. The impact is large; a five-year-old girl is left devastated and looking for answers. By the time she’s 10, she knows that the brokenness has become the normal, but that doesn’t mean she can’t yearn for what was.