Tim Peterson (Trace)

The violets in the mixed perennial border, plump, with lacy edges, come in a variety of purples. The violets providing orally answered please rise please stand. The undertenant of said premises, stem to petiole to leaf, voiced several stipulations drooping after rain, sweet craolo vortex stain.

A deposition: how do you answer the stigma style petal ovary?

I speak an unlisted option, anther sepal. An argument ensues and I’m insisting, now shouting at the clerk behind the desk. Like a buzzing bee he gathers drones, hardons. I am his receptacle, discretion.

Perennial violets spread by creeping roots and rhizomes, duly sworn before a plaque that reads “In God We Trust.” The entire garden bed, a court, a caption for that plaque we saw behind the violet’s head, low-slung ceilings miracle-gro, cheap nametag font cotyledens.


Stigma style petal ovary

How we approach the bench, bed

Violets caption hammered

Font cotyledons flash please rise

we avoided, marred                gathers drones

self-pollinated, donning a not

a meadow discontinuance open

need this threatened               bractaeoles

donning a swarming


TAKE NOTICE, the court has decided:

Violet speech is harmful.

Violet speech cannot be legislated.

The violet we’d want eluded its propositioner’s desires, this field too dark fuschia, this malevolent light purple body too foregoing to surrender up sun rays. Armies recline on armoirs, illuminated by the occasional flash of violet color. Gray resentful faces walk among violets marred by an amendent by the claimant.

Words hammered at the dais around which violets gathered, clamoring for restrictions on our need to legislate the fact that we were violets were conscious of what was said about us, how we avoided becoming a plot that could be quantified, surrounded, dug up.


Tim Peterson (Trace) is the author of SINCE I MOVED IN, which received the Gil Ott Award from Chax Press. The chapbook VIOLET SPEECH is forthcoming from 2nd Avenue Poetry. Other recent work has appeared in Cue, Aufgabe, and Sonora Review. Peterson edits EOAGH: A Journal of the Arts and curates the TENDENCIES: Poetics and Practice talks series at CUNY Graduate Center in New York City.