“Twin Strangers” by Danusha Laméris

Danusha Laméris


For $3.99, the website promises me the opportunity
to find my duplicate, my doppelgänger,
my double. Someone half-way around the world,
or right next door, who wears the same pointed eyebrows,
aquiline (according to the diagram) nose
on a brown and almost-oval face. “Everyone,” they say
“has seven look-alikes.” Each night in bed
I sip my cup of tea and try to forget
life’s many terrible subtractions—all the people
I’ve loved and can’t replace—while scrolling through photos
of people I don’t even know, searching for any trace
of likeness—matching earlobes, sprigs of hair,
the errant mole. Becoming a connoisseur
of countenances, every face an alphabet
arranged in its own language. So that even
at the market, cruising the aisles,
I take an inventory of eyelids, cheek bones, chins,
our species a pared to replicable parts—
the same ones they’ve been doling out
for centuries. Each grief seems so unique,
my losses mine, alone. And yet—O phantom sister,
mirror other—look how the world repeats
its pocketful of tricks: brow bone,
occipital, cupid’s bow. Broken heart,
chipped soul. Wherever you are, I am thinking
of you, out there in your several guises,
carrying your own piece of the burden,
one seventh of our common woe.

from Rattle #66, Winter 2019


Danusha Laméris: “In the spring of my senior year of high school, a poet by the name of Tony Hoagland came to teach a week-long class for me and about five other aspiring writers. I didn’t know poetry could be so unlike the classics and yet have such an effect on me. It opened up a world I hadn’t even imagined. As for my twin stranger, I found one. She’s in Berlin. I may send her this poem.” (web)


Danusha Laméris is the guest on Rattlecast #40! Click here to watch …

Rattle Logo