Issue > Poetry
Valerie Nieman

Valerie Nieman

Valerie Nieman’s second poetry collection, Hotel Worthy, was published in 2015. She has held fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council and the NEA, and her poems have been selected for several anthologies. She has also published three novels and a collection of short stories. A 2004 MFA graduate of Queens University of Charlotte, she teaches writing at North Carolina A&T State University.

Mourner's Purple


Someone else's dog knocked
the African violet from my table. A few
fleshy leaves snapped off

but the rest stayed lush,
the consequences
of amputation slow to move
through green tissue.

The broken stems
remained full of fluid (repellent,
really, how they can rot
and shrivel at the same time.)

This plant demands coddling,
to be soaked in a warm sitz-bath
lest its plushy leaves, spattered
by cold drops, spot and suppurate.

I sweep up the gray dirt,
find I'm craving water. Hard rain
or warm puddle, doesn't matter.

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