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Wintering Violet
by Robert Manaster

          The night is of the color
          Of a woman's arm
                  - Wallace Stevens

1.   What Jake Sumners Heard about Violet

They told her, we're shipping you to Shadowood
Since a spot opened up.  Two days
And they'd move her '73 trailer.
Well, she was like ice on a dry tongue.
I'm thinking, who are they to tell her this anyway?
And when they pulled away her home,
They busted the water pipes.  And hell,
That's not all.  Her shelves with those Christmassy
Bric-a-brac shifted or fell.
They banged up her microwave.
Things were dog-howling crazy,
And she just stood by.
Once there, she had no heat or water for days—
They didn't hook up the phone neither 'cause they ran over
The outside box when moving.
She bruised her arm when she slipped on
Crooked porch steps they set up—her balance
Was out-of-whack anyway from her stroke.
Her fingers swelled. Her ring had to be cut off.

2.   What Randall Evans Dreamt about Violet

An elderly woman frail-boned
Whose favorite color is a purple hat,
She won't speak bad about any loss,
I swear— just plain won't speak at all.
The night before her move, as she let out
Her cats for good— she was told
To get rid of them— she too sets out
Into a corn-crisp cold.  The lots on either side
Of her are as empty as tossed bottles.
Pines and oaks scuffle at a distance.
Along the gravel, she follows Romie Drive.
Ahead, right there in the middle,
There's this mobile home with siding that glows
In a smooth-liquor moonlight. 
On the porch stairs, the clomp her heels make
Surprises me at first.  She opens the door,
Which was cracked open anyway.
It's pitch dark inside.  She goes in
And that's all I see of her.  Nothing else.
Next thing I know I myself am standing there
On this porch, which starts to jiggle
Like a stripper's bracelet.
My feet feel like cinder blocks.
Well, shoot, I think, I've got to move
And that's when I wake up and there's
Big old Gus gnawing
On his paws right there by my feet.
That dog has got to go.

3.   What Herb Stephens Imagines about Violet

Violet is more like the faint
Impression of clovers
You smell after dusk.
She blanks the mind.
Gone are the wisps
Of waves her leaning
Made when the wind
Rubbed over her.
Pause at the vacancy.

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