by Hannah Zeavin
I was told to go to the gallery
by a friend from childhood
who was convinced I was adopted
due to the economy of my language
and the bulge over my left temple.
My parents and two siblings
were other than that
and knowing him to have his suspicions
founded, I went.
The bus to Buenos Aries
was not slowed by the usual
and so I left my things at my hotel
before venturing out to the show.
I know that these people are dead:
All the canvases were the same
in conceit. Each with a pair of partners
man and woman whose pictures
were made uniform in size and color.
These women had pregnancies at the time
and after their time had passed
after their abdomens
went slack, the mother was executed
and the child hidden
somewhere in the military.
Their grandparents were looking for them
these 20 year old strangers
and had mounted
the likenesses of their own children.
There were a hundred such portraits
for me to examine.
That I could see when I entered.
Next to these two images
of man and wife was a mirror
where my face or yours could be figured
and be compared.
One could regard the faces of these people
looking for what had made them
separate from the mother and father
that had raised them, origin of birth
now in question.
one had nothing to gain.
One could discover–
which science deems possible–
their parents, feel a sensation
like none that had passed before
a similarity that could be found
in handwriting, in singing voice
in the contours of the temple–
One could discover
that their own parents
has taken one’s self
and done away with.
I could be like Moses
attracted to the Other
who were my sister
Why to look in the mirror?
As I have already said
it is a dumb game to avoid
what one thinks could be truth.
So as I did,
I was at first relieved.
I did not know a single face
in the gallery, let alone a pair.
Happy and ready to leave
I looked at the last couple
and found the likeness handsome
His wife, mouth slightly open
looking into the mirror there was no doubt
that at least these three portraits
were of one set, a series
and opposite my face, my face split in two.
I approached the curator
wondering if I could be right
and if not could I purchase.
She asked if she could look
could she appraise the situation,
standing off to my left
behind my shoulder.
her walking figure disturbing
my face’s space in the mirror—
She rejoined me
and removed the canvas.