[MY GRANDMOTHER STANDS]
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.