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Self-Portrait of My Body Double

And God said, “Let us make man
in our image, according to our likeness.”
   
—Genesis 1:26
 
 
Keep still, I beg my body double.
How can I paint with you
bouncing around?
He flashes my smile,
frowns my frown,
then wanders off
to set fire to the kitchen.
✶
So I begin with background:
a swingset, a palace.
I paint the first
cloud that pops
in my head.
 
Through it all,
I feel I am dying,
I feel like dying
is what I’ve become.
✶
When I step back,
it isn’t half bad—
the sun is sunny,
chain-links link up—I’ve managed
to make things
nearly as they are
but for that void of a center,
that mountain of snow.
 
✶
 
Yes? I answer,
and swear my double
is nowhere to be found.
He has shattered the mirror,
stolen my leftovers,
and left this note
on the counter by the sink:

Forgive me. I despise you.
It looks just unlike us.