NINE/ELEVEN:20 — “American T-Shirts”

It’s dawn-dark on the left side of the map. Breakfast milk lurching

in a blueish mug. My twin and I wake each day with one shared shadow

only half-purposely. Mother standing in her mirror with her red-dyed curls

her red-eyes. Today, let’s wear our American T-shirts. Lost cotton things

in the bottom-most cubby, one goose-blue / one heathered. Both flags sequin

and pixel. In our plastic concussions we see nothing beneath the marine layer

but fog: preschool smell, the softness of our arms interlocked, green fields

hung over the choir-room carpet, cut-out paper roots razored with safety scissors.

The car hums orange with its ripped-out radio, wet windshield, both of us silent

in our smallness not because we know–– we keep a secret from our other life

the one where nothing happens. We walk squeaking through the hall shutting off

the gray screens, the reels. Mother smiling but not with teeth: her palms flexed

— heavenward.

Jarid McCarthy