The Dowager makes tomato sandwiches
when I go to her house. We sit in the dining room
and Beverly brings them out, wearing her clean
dress that’s as white as the bread.
She cuts the crusts off. Beverly does. I say,
Thank you for making these to the Dowager
who makes the strangest face and just says,
Eat. We only eat them in summer
even here in California where tomatoes
grow all year. We eat them on china plates
at the long dining table with one of us at either end.
One time I tried to sit beside the Dowager. She stared
at me ‘til I got up and walked the long walk
to the other end. We do things properly here,
she said. And took a bite. I like it just the same,
the quiet as we eat. And how the tomato has that tang
when it mixes with the mayonnaise. Some days
Beverly brings me two and winks when the Dowager says,
You spoil her and mutters something about fat.
I’m not sure why she has me come except to ask about my father
or maybe Babe. Once I asked her about my Brother,
if she thought he was brave. She got up then
and said, I think it’s a long way to go to get away.
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