Birth of the Doppelgänger

Phillip B. Williams

It was on the highway, high beams
cut across mangled ribs. Road kill

decorated the way home,
stink-mouthed and stun-eyed. Opossums opened

and I stepped into them. I stepped
into the jowls of the dead, into

the stench. Flies scoured the decayed
innards like priests washing temple walls.

It was ecstatic, the flipped-over car,
smoke and the circus acts of fly

buzz near a broken wolf, wolf broken
into by pregnant swarms, wolf teeth

shined beyond gum swell above tongue,
behind cheek, after blood spill

and my car spilled until all hell spilled
and you want to know what the taste was like?

I’ll tell you at the crash’s wake
was a new life. My new self

bled out from the old self, left
behind a husk, the heart’s slow drip

and stain. My lungs were drunk off exhaust
and pricked by daggers of wood. One eye

remained in the skull and stared at my new,
wet self. Hair grew violently from

my fresh scalp. My new skin was violet
and rolled up like panty hose

over the bones, over the muscles’ red
and white, and this shiny new skull where I made

room for nothing but this body’s
first words. See my mouth move, like this—

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