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Doppelganger

Everyone has a twin somewhere. Like a child
given up at birth, I look for my features

wherever I go. Doppelganger, you could be
on your way down High Street to the carryout

or in a village in Newfoundland. I know the luck
you bring, but I can’t stop seeking you out

like radio waves transmitting concentric circles—
a ticker tape of o-mouths spooling. Other self,

I want to project myself to where you are.
I want to float beside you and trace your shape

with my finger, like drawing a line on a bottle
of liquor. But you won’t feel me ruffling

your hair. You won’t look at me. You only echo
my movements, a sleepwalker. Other doer,

with you around, everything is slightly off,
like when Dylan went electric. The hours are

striped with light as yellow as old newspapers;
the moon is grainy as an obituary photograph.

Not quite a door, I stand ajar. I’m two places
at once. I’m watching a movie, but the person

playing me isn’t acting. Double walker,
you’re not so bad. You don’t have red eyes

and a black, v-shaped uni-brow like most
evil twins. But you won’t look my way. You speak

but not to me. Your voice, which is mine,
crackles like a phone call from another country.

____
Maggie Smith is the author of Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press, 2005) and Nesting Dolls (Pudding House, 2005). She has received two Academy of American Poets Prizes, several Pushcart Prize nominations, and two generous fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council. She currently works as an editor in Columbus, Ohio, and has new poems forthcoming in the Gettysburg Review, Indiana Review, Florida Review, Third Coast, Indiana Review, Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere.

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