— “A friend of mine found this photograph in a shoe box in his Grandmother’s attic.
I wonder if those quotation marks imply what I think they do[;]
by the look on their faces, I would say they do.” — The Gaily Grind
Aunty Mary and Her “Friend” Ruth, 1910.
You wear the faded muslin—
did it begin yours or mine?
Everything we have is both.
Everything we are is both,
our faces shaped like sisters,
bodies like lovers. Our eyes
away from the camera as one.
This morning I brushed our hair in bed,
yours then mine, twisted the usual
Psyche knots onto our heads.
My mouth full of pins, you kissed
just the corner. For years
I turned my cheek, held your hands
to keep them from me but no more.
On the chair by the window,
room for only one, so I hold you
round your shoulders to balance us both.
The only difference between us:
yours is a smile that knows the sin
but not the penance and mine,
secret, hardly there.
Your fingers dust my chin,
the flashbulb goes.