Today while doctors separate

conjoined Iranian twins

beneath fluorescent lights in Singapore,

my son whirls through the yard,

orbited by his two best friends,

identical twins,

The three spin the world

into a gritty dust storm;

I see only profiles, appendages,

angles and curly mounds of hair.

I hear fortissimo, full-mouthed guffaws.


I guess it's silent in Singapore--

except for the drills and the

exhalations of serious, creased--

browed surgeons that penetrate

skulls, divide bone

that's thicker than expected;

bone that's been a wall

between two women's bodies,

Bones like a curtain between brains


In the yard, my son's blond hair

illuminates his friends' replicated faces.

He knows them by heart,

calls their names without stopping

to search for clues:

noses askew or bushier brows.

They collaborate:

their dance a game--

six hands, six feet, three heads

that celebrates autonomy.


Stunned, I slump into a chair

when the news reveals the deaths

of the brave conjoined twins,

who only wanted to live apart.

The injustice fills the room like a fog,

a bitter miasma. I inhale it, and

strain my eyes to see.

Suddenly, the boys clear the air,

a whirlwind of young bodies

reeling into the room,

individual body parts,

shoving, groping, supping

on the victuals of life.


Becca Hensley