You get another beer and say,
I wish there was a shipwreck, shouting
sailors, the perfect storm, both of us
almost lost at sea, washed up
separately on a strange shore, pushed
together at last by the plot, the past
behind us like an empty stage.
I nod, I take a sip. I still
don’t like beer, I’m only doing this
for you. I keep trying. It’s bitter,
it tastes like poison. You keep saying,
we’ll find the right one, we’ll find
something you like, trust me. I swallow
everything you say and then some.
I know the play you mean. I know
everything you know,
Everything we say now
has an echo, we keep forgetting
we’re not talking
to ourselves anymore.
But those characters, I say,
were brother and sister, not whatever
we are. We are both silent. We are
alone and terrifyingly together. We are
not even in the same state. We have
mistaken identities, we know
this can’t last much longer.
I’d be your brother, you say at last.
I think about this third option,
shared childhood baths, wrestling
to settle disputes, remembering
each other’s memories. The stage lights
flicker, a wave floods the proscenium.
Shakespeare, in the wings with the twins,
shakes his head and asks,
Is this what you want?
What should I write?
He tries my beer,
spits it out. It’s all right,
he says, in the end, trust me,
the confusion will be over.