J.P. Grasser


for my sister


It might have been some divine intervention,
            though I’m not rightly equipped to answer

a question so complex. Our origins are the same,
            sister. Our origin is wholly singular. Fertility drugs

made us, all or nothing, and neither you nor I
            would have existed without them. We depended

on each other. Our mother’s fallopian tubes
            were occluded, cervix slanted. The best treatment,

even, had low chances. Then we were conceived
            on Friday the 13th. All disbelief. Four weeks in,

the doctors said one heartbeat had disappeared
            altogether. Mine? They said it might be twin blight,

though she’d only heard the word used for sick
            elm trees on the farm, in Nebraska, unreachable

from the clinic. I might’ve vanished, been absorbed
            into you and reborn as the sixth finger of your hand,

or an echo, a partial figure protruding from a thigh.
            Or else each of my fibers pressed by your new growth

into a parchment-like disc at the base of her womb.
            Mother went home. And then, somehow, weeks later,

we were alive again, and born double on the 26th.
            Barely believable arithmetic, but it’s true. You are far

away as I am rereading about the oracles at Delphi,
            about the Egyptian papyrus scrolls, black soot ink

put into new geometries, slabs pulled by cords,
            stacked up, where light does not come in slants,

but washes, or else grows up from the river itself,
            to be tended, and without which there is nothing.