Last summer, some wild, purple flowers decided to grow under our garden bench, even though the soil there is dry and rocky- these delicate-looking flowers bloomed and poked their little faces out from under the bench. That winter, I saw a little girl dressed in purple with her mother crossing 118 avenue, when the construction was going on for the new Shopper’s Drug Mart and the two pictures merged together into Little Violet.
I stop the car at a red light
And watch as a woman with children crosses at 118 Avenue
The little girl makes me smile
She is dressed all in purple- purple ski jacket, purple pants, purple mittens, purple boots
My mind fancifully dubs her ” Little Violet.”
Little Violet skips across the intersection to the new Shopper’s Drug Mart
Jumping up to peer through the framed-in windows,
She will not remember the mouldy smell of the old Cromdale Hotel
Or the sound of the wrecking crane, the pigeons flying up from long time perches
Or the wall which reads ” Karaoke Saturday Night.”
Little Violet catches a dried leaf blowing past her,
Last year, the green of life flowed through its veins
Now it crumbles in her young hand. Its time is done.
Mother and daughter look skyward, their faces like twin moons,
Watching leaf crumbs caught up in a swirling eddy of air.
My light turns green and I glance in the rear view mirror
Watching as Violet latches onto the stroller her mother is pushing,
And skips past the liquor store.
My heart constricts, when I think of all the Little Violets
Growing up amid the massage parlours and Cash stores
Watching the dusty street nomads making their way to the Bottle Depot
The loud, angry voices in the back alleys, the screams in the night.
But tucked away in an abandoned lot, a violet struggles to bloom
It reaches past the granite rocks and weeds, which try to darken its life-
A violet face, vivid and raised to the sunlight.