Marcus Myers: My Double Appears

As the World Turns, My Double Tries to Break Me


1. Spring



The double delights within

my daughter’s irises. He twins there

above the tulips we planted.


As if he and I were wearing feathers.

As if we shared a branch

of her beloved soul.


He hums the tune we sing together,

minus the words. I begin to hum it, too.


Between our teeth

the livid gaze, vis-à-vis

this exactitude of form and sound. 


Between this uneasy stasis:

my daughter, contiguous

despite this splitting.


The first father

from whom she turns


will murder the other,

will fertilize this soil.




2. Summer



My double reappears

with garden shears.


He offers to cut away

my overgrown every day.


When moved to ask,

What gives?


one of us sneers

and the other says:


Only one of us can live.



3. Autumn



I’m fed up with you,

I say to the face,


a line the double

exacts and transposes

onto the door’s leaden glass.


The stubble-brown

flower garden beyond

our eyes the foreground


of my daughter’s leaving

in her mother’s car


(the ex he drives away).

Let’s sing a song of crickets


indifferent in soft-dying fields,

he says, the chapped lips

around his stupid gap


so dystonic my stomach

turns. The sincerity

so dumb, I run


my fist through the glass

and blind us with my pain. 



4. Winter


I could compare the double to winter.

Easy. He lies dormant now. His presence: 

the muted birds, the star-tuned snow,

a shroud over once-heated soil.


The regenerative animus he was

becomes a coffin text I hold to ribs.

I am not dead yet, I think. He’s a spell

I say without his likeness in mind.


He becomes the dying light,

the sun’s inner warmth in reserve.

He’s the figure who cast doubt

in place of shadow: Who are you?


I asked. When I watched him ask,

Who am I? I and you spun

on its axis: Who’s hallucinating whom?

Once I saw him covered in snow, I knew.


Marcus Myers lives in Kansas City, where he advises gifted & talented high school students, teaches composition to high school seniors and college freshmen, and works as a founding co-edititor of Bear Review, an online journal of poems and micro prose. His writing has appeared in The Cortland Review, Hunger Mountain, Mid-American Review, The National Poetry Review, Pleiades, The Rumpus, Salt Hill, Tar River Poetry, TYPO and elsewhere.