Curious Specimens

Our lunch break was over but we wouldn’t be needed for another hour, so we lingered on the grass with our paperbacks and a carton of timbits. I pulled out a draft I’d been working and immediately a few of my co-workers leaned in. “Is that a poem?” Someone asked to see, as though I had retrieved a curious specimen from my pocket– a mutant butterfly, or a pebble with a hole in its centre. “Write a poem about us,” said the twins. It took us all a few days to learn to tell them apart. It didn’t help that their names sounded so similiar, or that they had the same gaze that turned toward you if you said something they found interesting. Since they were only eighteen, they found most things interesting. The Twins, I wrote at the top of the page. Now and then I stopped to think, to listen to the conversations behind me, to swat little green bugs from my sleeve. They pretended not to be watching or to be excited. When I finished I handed it over to them. “I hope it’s not too confusing,” I said. I wanted very much that they would like it. Their expressions were suspended, then filled with wonder. I told them I planned to make it longer. “Do you want to make a copy?” she asked, holding the paper very carefully. When I gave it back to her, her sister said, “I’m going to get it framed.” I’m still not sure which of us gave the other the greater gift.

The Twins
Like two sides of a scale,
when one goes up, the other
counterbalances the weight
of her sisters’ thought. We all marvel
at how each word like a tiny gram
of gold will sway your delicate
mechanisms. We know there’s no
exact science to determine
how you’ll measure us
and yet we keep guessing;
each day getting closer
to your true, unequal
weight.
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