Photograph in Black & White / Two Little Girls

These two little girls are naked in the sun. One stands in the galvanized steel washtub, pouring water from a jug onto her sister’s shoulders. (They must be sisters: look at their ease with each other, and their similarly tangled curly hair.) The younger sister is crouched, bowing her head, allowing the water to flow over her skin. It is summer (of course). A broad pale sheet floats on the line behind them. A breeze — you know, looking, that there is a breeze — pushes the sheet toward them, then lets it settle. Their curls stick to their damp necks, their limbs are round and smooth. Who is watching? We are watching, but who took this picture, so long ago? The girls, absorbed in their play, give no sign that they notice a watcher, a photographer — no stiffness in their backs, no covert glancing. They are naiads, maybe, twentieth century water nymphs, as yet untouched by the gods. When will they wake up, get wise? When will they decide to cover themselves and lose their ease, in the sun, in their skin? It happens earlier and earlier, now. A shadow will fall. They will hardly be able to rise for its weight.

- Wendy McVicker

Wendy McVicker’s poems have appeared in a variety of journals over the years. Her chapbook, The Dancer’s Notes, was published in 2015. She is an Ohio Arts Council teaching artist, and performs with instrumentalist Emily Prince as the duo another language altogether, often in collaboration with dancers and other musicians.