I lived in a valley.

I live in a valley.

The sun sets on one side and rises terrifying

On the other

The mirror shimmers that shaky reflection

Back to me

Trembling in the predictable gusts of wind

On the surface of the stream


She stares with hollow, black eyes

Empty pebbles

Pools of oil

Swirling with spite, irony, bitterness

She cackles at my judgments, my knowing

My perceived cleverness

The sound issuing from her throat

As her lips remain clasped, impassable

Only flickering upward at the corners


The words are clear,

However they echo inside

This cavity of bone


Shaking, but unable to clear the moats made in the sand

Shaking, but only increasing the number of reverberating words


She grips my wrists,

The flesh of my jowl between her teeth

Her breath, perfumed with rot

And hopeless desperation

Escaping on the heaves of wind

Through the gaps


“You or me,” the words are clear

“You or me,” says that reflection, without speaking,

“But it’s gotta be one of us.”

She laughs

And spits

Spewing salt and blood and ruin


But she tells the truth

At least she never lies

At least there is that

An upside-down

Swollen-headed globe

Shifting and half shaded

No place to hide

Doppleganger by Janet Gardiner