He is wanting us to do things. Us to touch ourself. He is showing us himself, abandoned light falling through the broken window. He pushes, grabs. We slash. Shards of glass. He retreats, cradling a tattered face. After, we shuffle through empty rooms. Write our words in the dust. Set fire to the old mattress.

At school the others watch us from a distance. Try to decipher our language. Knock our books from our hands in the hall. We make a list.

We find two dead birds. Necks broken. They are husband and wife. We give them a room in the dollhouse. They lead grand lives. Many acquaintances.

Our parents are afraid. Tell us not to speak our language. Too much time spent in seclusion. Door shut. We make doll shows. Set fire to the dollhouse. Some of them survive.

Hospital. White space. Lip-chewers and shit-smearers. “Whose choice was it to set the fires?” she asks. Who? Choice? Our language does not hold these words.

Separate rooms. We go blank.

“Isolation doesn’t seem a viable option,” she says. “Twins often form a special bond.”

Twins. Twine. Two. Our language doesn’t separate. We try their language. It is like sand on our tongues.

An hour a day in the courtyard. Bird sounds. Creaking wheelchairs. Mutterings. Orderlies steer away. We have only ourself. Our lives will never run to other horizons. They will only collide. We are the only ones to know our language. It is a vise. It works tighter if we resist. There is only one way out.

She cannot understand us anymore, nor we her. Our words are snared in the air between, fuzzed out, shredded. Nothing can split this cocoon we have wound around ourself. We must make a choice.

Eyes thickening. Slackened shadows. Crawling tubes. “We can’t discern what is wrong with her. A sudden slowing of the heart. No cause.” I try to tell them but they can’t know my words; part of us must wilt so that the rest of us may grow.


Brian Randall is a poet and writer living in Santa Cruz, California. His poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Rust+Moth, Jelly Bucket, and Roanoke Review. Find more of his work online at www.brianrandallwriter.com