My Doppelgänger Returned

Locked out,
Extraneous to a house
As I watched myself
Inside, combing my hair
And walking about as if
I owned the place, which I did;
Re-arranging a shelf I had
No business organising
Books alphabetically by author
And ornaments I bought
On travels around the continent.
I pounded at the pane and
I shouted to no great avail,
My voice as light as partial hail
As it melts on a lawn, early April.
I couldn’t hear my outside-self think.

Held by an undressed woman,
You danced across the kitchen
Captivated by her supple spell,
Her hair in a band and laden
With all the meaning of murex-purple Embroidered silk.
A sash fell down, and you
Both collapsed against the sink
Where I used to wait
For the immersion tank to work,
Its creaking pipes would groan
And from my vantage admire
On salmon terracotta tiles
Willow baskets, jasmines in pink.
Your feet looked just like mine.
I became a voyeur to myself
And could not help but disappear
Into my own open mouth
Where all my words ran out.
I changed the locks to myself.

Many years later I lived
In a quintessentially different city,
Stood in a different pair of sneakers
At a different kitchen window,
Yet I never could forget
My tergiversated self,
Collapsing on the verge of that house,
Aware of all we could deserve
And all we could not help.

There Is A Version Of Me

There is a version of me
Seven steps ahead,

He implored that I should follow,
Spinning a spider’s thread.

He led me over marshes
Where mallow-long laments,

We toured the northern caverns,
Where habit-froth ferments.

I asked him, where are we going,
His resolute manifest mute,

Without reply, I remained unknowing
Of purpose to his shameful route.

For he stole from me my compass,
He stole from me my hope,

And all the things that I should be
Are buried on those slopes.

If you see me wild and wandering,
Unarmoured man, who once was kind,

You are not viewing me, but him,
My grave was seven years behind.

My Doppelgänger

A dozen dead-ends later
I found my better self,
Hiding in reflections,
Or somewhere on your shelf.

He blanked me at our café,
Your hand upon his arm;
He filled our box at Othello;
I hammered a theatre alarm.

Infused by choice and chances,
Gods have quirks of humour;
I did not know I’d been stolen
Until I read those rumours

In headlines in his grasp.
I hemorrhaged poems and songs,
He’s gone researching romance
And my cortège won’t be long.