Virginia Smith


Circled in smoke on her porch,
she explains her names were given
in the wrong order, Hazel being

fit only for a middle initial--
she always intended to be Violet.
Framed by a street curved

over with tree boughs, her wide lawn
makes the porch not just a cool
blue detail, but a necessary shade.

Nails and mouth glow red, upswept
hair a flat black that reflects
no light, her starched yellow smock

patterned with trellis squares,
blooms the size of saucers
and rumor. Now Violet, she declares,

is a name you can work with.
Friends could call me Vi--everyone would.
Except my beaus.
Said with a snap

of her cigarette case. They would have to
call me Violet.
And here she might
soften with a smile, a shake of the head,

but instead she disappears
into the house, the searing heat,
a few rubied stubs scattered over grass.

Virginia Smith's poems appear most recently, or are forthcoming, in 2River View, Denver Quarterly, The Jet Fuel Review, Moria, and Weave.

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