Scoundrel Time

My Sister and I Are Having the Same Dream

Long after nights of arm-tickling across the chasm
between our twin beds, after all the shared illnesses
of childhood—spiking fevers doused in crystalline alcohol,
such pungent, icy baptisms,

after the honeyed scabs of measles and of falls,
years of being mistaken for the other, bowl-cut
bangs fringing wide foreheads, our matching dresses
(until one grew breasts), years of pleasing teachers
with our patterned decorousness,

there came the years of not speaking while the young
warriors pitched tents outside the forbidden city,
each of us carried off, eventually, to the other’s chagrin
(How could you go with him?)

and now quite detached, a continent between us,
over and over the same nightmare:

an unlocked door about to open, some force making its way in,
a loose chain jangling like a charm bracelet, unlatched,
butterfly hinge molting,
blind knob twisting,
deadbolt un-thrown—

each in her own house, invaded, alone.