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Martin Dobberstein
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Violet Hour

So there we were one hilarious afternoon
Dumping buckets of water on each other
No one around to tell us what to do for once, a violet hour
Come not a moment too soon for some
Who might have ended up like the boy from Tennessee
Losing it one day on the grinder: barking like a dog
He stayed on all fours even when kicked and kicked again.

Those days. When they shaved our heads, stripped us
Marched us ran us chased us slapped us by God kicked ass,
By God remade us and delivered us new to ourselves fresh as babies,
Then cursed us and worked us over in the sun
Until we dropped at their feet
Tough enough for orders and the oceans of boredom
That came in endless barracks of card games and cigarettes.

But this is about water and the tricks light plays,
About the day’s slow turn toward evening:
Each of us bucket in hand whooping and whooping,
Charging then washed back, laughing insanely
Because we knew our lives depended on it, moving
Together entirely free and of ourselves,
Dancers perfectly balanced, falling without motion.

© 2010 Beloit Poetry Journal       Design by Jim Parmenter