If not, winter remains, a stain where whiteness is the stain. If not, starlight intrudes on the dark, spots it, light dribbles down the nightness, bleached. If not, winter to skid Sam out of the living and into the otherwise. If not speed’s black ice or the seasons worn, not on the highway but on the blank stare of the impossibly-old woman who pulled out onto the interstate without imagining that what her peripheral vision missed and what she did not turn to see was my husband bound for groceries like any-husband but transformed now to involuntary stuntman, an Evil Kneivel who never trained for the moment when he’d swerve to save her antique bones and make of his body a kind of figure of resurrection, rising like a circus-Messiah sprung from a cannon but the funny part, the bent knee bounced down to the ground, the perky jump up to show his form and intention, that part got skipped, if not for that, what would remove him from me, I wondered. Not time, for the widowed never imagine that their love would end lamely, a cute bank-teller, a telling bank statement, a night at a hotel so extravagant, no wife imagines her body ever sliding down the luxurious length of such-bedding again.
The one with violets in her lap is the other, or child. The one with violets in her lap is never you again, when wooing has made way for the won-over, the once-over that finds you found. The one with violets in her lap in never wife, but widow, I think, while I take the funeral arrangements apart and throw them all over the living room floor. What I remember are the violets, delicate things we kept on a step-ladder that Sammy and I painted over in leftover colors: honeydew green, sockeye salmon, a color called puce and one eerie blue. We called it the Vomit of Key West but with the violets we tended in their various shades of purple, magenta, and plum, there was harmony to it.