Twin, Disappearing

by Janet McAdams

Twin sleep-sleeping in the body,
sullen at never waking. Oh child
beyond toes and fingers,
eyes listing to port and starboard
so small when a mother
bled you to water in the doctor’s
makeshift office. Or never bled:
you left lodged in the body

of the twinless twin. The months
she gobbled you cell by cell,
but never quite finished.
In your sister’s body the tiny useless
extra womb, a third eye covered
with skin or bone, a clot of yellow fat.
One lash sprouting mid-forehead,
plucked like an ordinary stray hair.

A crust of baby teeth beneath the teeth
that bite into the nightly ear of corn.
Voice curled in the left ear like a snail.
Rim of ear a shadow beneath first neckskin,
then shoulderskin, caught beneath the ribs
the way one eye of a flounder
will travel the long flat country of fish
lost deep and blind in the body a lifetime.