Kate Peper

A Parasitic Twin Talks to his Brother

Parasitic twins… occur when one twin ceases development during gestation and becomes vestigial 
to the fully formed dominant twin…—Corinne DeRuiter, The Embryo Project Encyclopedia

Our parents never gave me
            a name       but you did     Jason      kissed it
                       between my shoulder blades      Every night
you counted    all
                        of my spine     praying    I would climb  out
of your belly       one day     a whole brother

Then you stopped talking
           to me         our parents decided to sever
                                     us into one    twin

I forgive you
            I always knew you’d outgrow me
But I won’t lie   I felt every surgical saw tooth
                        cleaving  you      from       me
            How                do I tell    you
how alone        I am

along with cancerous legs      frost-bit
             toes, withered arms        to be burned   un-
            while you’re already healing
                        into   the     yolk
of your new     birth

long after my ash has been   scattered no-
                        where   I’ll still be     with you
The scar closer to you    than     she
            will ever be
                       reminding you even
in your wedding bed

                      I loved you first