Today's poem is by Daneen Wardrop

Birthday's Profile

"Although only about one out of eighty or ninety live births produces
twins, at least one-eighth of all natural pregnancies begin as twins.
Many of us singletons, in other words, began life as something more
—as part of a pair."
          —Lawrence Wright

Sometimes my shadow is attached a little crooked—
            a tree, before I know it's going to storm, bows,
                              and my skin slides against another's
that is the skim of the thought
                  of a storm.
Her lungs not absorbed completely,
                          a pocket when I breathe,
            name brailled in the rain to come.

She would like my hair, twist it around
her fingers of glass ... I don't
turn around quickly ... I am the one
                                    who breathes
            deep into the extra pocket.
She lines me,
            internal skin.
Sometimes the water drains too fast
and I can't shake myself out of the bathtub
clean enough. If haloes were for the having
they'd look like the wavering, brilliant shadow
                  the floating hair casts
            in the tub. You could pick the house up
                                    by the corners, wring it out.
The older I get, the more rain
returns to me.


When I pray she gets in the way,
                        comes between me and my pressed hands.
She messes with my windows—
field of color, texture like ontology
                                          is never
                        a thing you can palm.

Always dimples, her knuckles—
how odd to think of never-knuckles.
                        And her profile never a coastline
            of pout and blink—
            foam, splaying sand, lazy spray,
                        rest, sleep, neck, pucker, turn. Fingers
their own obscene concaves against concaves,
                                    left against right,
                                                hollow on hollow.
                        When I pray she intercedes
for what is unaskable.


She's diffident, all right,
and willful, too. I never understood
                        the lack of stubbornness—
rip my vertebrae out whole.
How the crusted globe would
hold together without it.
            What goes round. When anyone makes love
they should thrust in spirals. We'd dizzy
            ourselves to God.

The end of the merry-go-round
there. And there He'd be, too, your twin sitting on his knee.
And you'd open a can of pork-and-beans,
                                    and feed her with a runcible spoon
            and an eye dropper. You might think you'd tell her,
                                    I'm sorry, I'm sorry,
but you don't. You say,
                        here. here. here.
and you look away from her eyes'
lightning, which could cut you to glitter.


There was never a time when lust didn't understand loneliness.
            Before ultrasound she flew.
You could not tell her running
from her hair flying.
If I could seize her I would
                        teach her "Twinkle, Twinkle,"
                        and the ABC song,
                                    both the same melody:
            How I wonder—
            Next time won't you—

I would hold her in my palm, tip her gently, gently,
            place her on the equator
                        of the globe to walk and spin.

She would leave footprints
the size of letters of countries.
Small countries.
            Sparing letters.


A woman I know got to take Emily Dickinson's
            personal Herbarium out of the glass case
            and hold it. When she opened
the book, she said,
                        buds pressed in its pages lapped with fragrance.
                        Leaving a soft thing
                        in the middle of a bed rustle
            I found the imprint
of a neck in the wrinkle
                                    that knew
more than either of us.


Poor naked neck.
She's mostly neck.
                        Curved, bird claw stretching
to eat. She never eats,
            instead stretches
                        one way and another.
                                    Insists upon it
            as the nest sits, aware,
            embarrassed by its hole.

            Breathe through your belly.
Don't let the wrist worry
                        what the toejoints are doing.
                                    By means of our pointed bones we sit,
view lofted hills. Think into your ribcage.
                                    Let your throat beat.
Your blood can run backwards a minute.

Copyright © 2008 Daneen Wardrop All rights reserved
from The Odds of Being
Silverfish Review Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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