The Gang

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.




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