by Jacqueline West

If they meet, they will die.

I know you are out there.
I know even now you are raising a hand
with clover-shaped knuckles to touch the eyelid
that angles toward your temple, the hooked lashes
catching dust and your own dark hair.

When you lie down, I know the fall of your limbs,
the constellation of marks on your skin,
every mole like mine, an embroiderer's pattern.
We make mirrored art, staring side to side
across the gape of an open door.

You walk with me like a shadow
tangled on the soles of my feet.

If you rose toward me out of the river,
I'd give you my hand, and we'd pull each other in.
I would hold you closer than a sister,
and together we would listen for the pulse
of our hearts stopping in perfect time.

Jacqueline West likes fruit that puts up a bit of a fight -- something with thorns or spines or a tough rind -- but she never says no to a black plum, either. She currently grows raspberries in eastern Wisconsin, where she also writes and teaches. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in journals including Mythic Delirium, Chizine, The Pedestal Magazine, flashquake, Strange Horizons, and the St. Ann's Review. More about her work can be found at her website.

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