Matt Schumacher

Dopplegänger

Goethe glimpsed his own ghost on horseback,
galloping toward him in a gray coat down a familiar road,

and Donne imploded when his wife’s spectre walked across the room
the night before her miscarriage.

Distinguished company, my identical twin!
And your best physicists would insist nothing’s amiss.

They’ve agreed I exist in their mathematical universe.
Your duplicate will stare you straight in the eye

If you travel the right distance.
Yes, I came all this way to see you, my stranger!

Where is my fanfare? Welcome me, please!
Should we embrace? Or should I try to kill you?

Were I Goldyadkin, I’d decry your mimicry!
So, he’d say, you’re a liar, striving after what’s rightfully mine.

That’s why you’re here. Perhaps, as in Rosetti’s How They Met Themselves,
we’ll always be pale, self-effacing strangers.

How to ignore folklore’s foreboding décor?
It must be unsettling to be threatened by identity,

surprised by precise likeness,
besieged by quintessential intimacy.

I know I am a bad omen. An entity. Shall I go
after solemnly promising to reappear three times,

to be your proper harbinger of death?
Better to dwell in the waters of Lethe,

to forget whatever severed us forever,
alter fate’s inscription: We were never meant to meet.

Yes, by all means, let’s unseal the ideal
and let perfect understanding preclude speech.

Or, better yet, my dear palindrome,
let’s share the full spectrum of secrets, the complete

fairytale, gaze at the fateful, at prismatic existence,
walk the halls and corridors of our mirror images,

hand in hand, unafraid.

About the Author

Matt Schumacher lives in Portland, Oregon where he edits the journal Phantom Drift. His sixth poetry collection, A Missing Suspiria de Profundis, was recently published by Greying Ghost Press.