He was starting to be less surprised by the phenomenon of twins. It had taken him a while to get used to the idea that there were people who looked like other people.
“Oh, it is you!” she said, and he realized his mistake.
It was the doubling and not the doubled that was familiar,
that was recognizable.
Twice embodied, he saw another moment
when any flesh can mirror us all.
“Um, yes,” he stammered, “it is,” because though he recognized that face, he still couldn’t quite remember who she was. “How have you been?”
“You don’t remember,” she said, and laughed, “me, do you?”
“I’m sorry,” he admitted as graciously as he could, smiling, because at some visceral level, he did know her. He knew something about her.
A vase can and has held more than flowers cut
from hothouse rows.
A shadow may linger
long after the light that cast it fades.
He began to remember knowing things like these.
Finally, when she pouted, he told her, “I knew someone who looked just like you, maybe.” He shrugged, but put one hand on the wall behind her.
She looked at the arm laying over her shoulder, turned her eyes up to him, blinked. “Oh. I’m sorry. It must be my mistake.” She appeared confused, then resigned, something utterly too familar about the shifting of her face.
He began to witness an event
and was pleased to discover his ability
to create the event he was witnessing.
It felt expansive.
Exhilaration propelled him toward
a moment of assurance and certainty.
“Audrey,” was what he said. “Your name is Audrey.”
“You used to have one of those bikes, a little kid’s bike that doesn’t have any brakes. I left a note in your desk at school.” He was awestruck by the irony, the incredible awful irony, of meeting his first-grade sweetheart on this particular day.
“And your sister’s name is Angela,” he continued,
completely helpless in the wash of inspired recollection.
He smelled something waxey and sharp,
he suddenly wanted to whisper.
at the memory of what had happened. But instead he simply stared, no longer even breathing out.
“You do remember,” she said, still smiling uncertainly.
Or something like that,
though memory seemed too small
to hold this sensation.