Rigoberto González

Doppelgänger (for Omaira Sánchez)

There once lived a girl who sang and danced even in times of sorrow.
She didn’t answer to your name, but before her death she wore your face,
taupe bequeathed to her as well. Like you, she inherited her small place.
Such expediency of selection: the pasty stars collapsing to allow
the other constellations room to expire into brightness. But you needn’t share
her fate. You can live an entire life without succumbing to a flood:
you can hum without gurgling beetle mud, you can sway without shivering
neck-deep in tin debris. But borrowed body, in time you must vacate,
let another take your space. Don’t worry about whom or when since the girl
who comes after is already here, her breath the cold carnation of frost
on the window as you press your reflection to the glass. When you die
you’ll kill the girls you used to be. As you live, you’ll flaunt the genocide
like lavender, fierce blossoming of beauty and mortality. The next assassin?
She’s the winter rehearsing its inhale-exhale through the invisible nose.

Rigoberto González
Poem, copyright © 2004 by Rigoberto González
Appearing on From the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2004, From the Fishouse