The nudes arrived on a Tuesday because Gran had invited them to tea.
The sort of thing that’s dignified enough for white tablecloths,
casual enough to serve Coke in the china cups and shuffle cheez doodles
on a wide, rectangular plate decorated with hibiscus.
The nudes greeted me with my old nickname,
“Velma” to bridge the years between when I knew the nudes as
something fully clothed. Upon sitting,
the nudes used shower mist instead of a linen
napkin to protect themselves from falling food or piercing stares.
They passed the sugar as their mother had surely
taught them, and talk of politics occurred briefly between the nudes and Gran.
The nudes ate more than Gran and I combined, but this made
sense with their nature of simultaneous taking and giving,
ring around the rosie. When they straightened their legs
and popped off to the loo, Gran held my hand in hers, her blue veins
caterpillars under the skin. She spoke of possibility, then watched
chickadees congregate on the suet hanging outside her window.
When the nudes came back, she showed them pictures from
her trip to Romania, the magentas and turquoises of the
landscape. The nudes said just the right things, the charmers.
The nudes churched their hands over the photo album
and thoughts of arsenic carouseled around my head.