The Human Genre Project

Coming in Second

Body chilled by years of neglect,
my twin lies in a hospital bed

trying to grasp how she’s come
to this. The sum of my fears

she’s the one person I dread
I could be, save for some kink in our link

of genetic fiber—a palpable bond.
Struggling not to catch her death

of cold, I’ve steered clear of her
view that our life was conceptual

error, yet I find myself more
akin to her than sanity permits.

And though, at times, I fall into that
black hole of her undoing, I manage

to climb back out, into the asylum
of my life. Out, according to my twin,

the same way I exited the womb,
climbing over her in order to be first.

Ruth Sabath Rosenthal