After Great-Aunt Florie’s Unveiling Service

A white teacup saucer with small rosebuds
is sitting on the off-white carpeting
and I’m holding the small, matching cup in
my beauty-marked hand.

My undotted hand feels sore in two spots
where my teeth lie when I suck my fingers,
pressing my sign for “I love you”
against my small lips.

Mr. Big Bear and I are enjoying
afternoon tea with Grandma and Mimi,
stirring in plastic sugar cubes with pink
and silver tin spoons.

The women are sitting on my mother’s
yellow and rust flower patterned sofa,
I am kneeling on the other side of
the coffee table.

I pour cold water from my tea kettle
very carefully, spilling only drops
on the glass and wiping them away with
my undotted hand.

Mimi asks me to pour the next cup with
my dotted hand instead, and I find
it’s easier and I don’t spill at all.
She is right-handed.

I look up at her and smile, sticking
my undotted hand’s fingers into my
mouth, feeling pain, but sucking anyway,
enjoying comfort.


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