I am an identical twin. Or was.
_____What’s the right tense for having the same genetic material as a ghost?
In the beginning, there was one egg. Then there were two of us.
My whole life I have felt like half of something.
_____But is that right, exactly?
We arrived at twenty-seven weeks. Together, weighed less than four pounds.
I was slightly larger. It was her amniotic sac that broke open, but mine followed suit.
They tried to stop us being born for weeks after the rupture.
_____Why were we so bent on coming?
They cut us out and rushed us to the NICU while our mother was still under.
We were blue. We were not breathing, but we had our fists up.
You could see our not-yet-lungs at rest inside our matchbox chests.
You could watch them fail to balloon.
_____How long, exactly, were we without air? How long did it take?
She died after thirty-six hours. I lived. That should have been the last of it.
_____Why wasn’t that the last of it?
My body bears the marks of our arrival in the world. I am spastic, off-balance,
hardly able to walk. Often, I wake up sure my body isn’t mine. Often, I love being alive.
I have nightmares that I’ve left her for the wolves. I have nightmares that she’s left me
for the wolves.
_____Who am I without her, when I’ve only ever been without her?
____Which one of us, exactly, did the leaving?