I Tell My Twin Sister if I Come Back after I Die,
it sure as hell ain’t gonna be to visit
as a pesky fly, obsessively orbiting her head while
she kneels, nose-pinched, to de-poop the litter box.
Or a squirrel, like the one she calls Mom
whenever it pauses halfway up the maple
to stare through the kitchen window as she lights
a cigarette: I know, I know—I promise I’ll quit!
If we’re granted the power to return, to embody
some other kind of creature, why would it be
those two ducks who claim her pool every June?
Okay . . . so if they are Grandma and Grandpa,
what do you think they’re trying to communicate
through the shit and feathers you skim out daily?
You remember how they loved to swim, she insists,
when I suggest it’s the endless supply of breadcrumbs
she scatters, not reincarnation, bringing them back.
Well, if I return, I assure her, it’ll be as a bear—
not at all native to her suburban town—a big one,
who claws a perfect M for Michael into the side
of her shed. So there’s no uncertainty it’s me.
Oh my god! Don’t you dare, she says. That shed cost
a fortune! But . . . feel free to carve it into the maple.
What makes you think I’m going first anyway? I ask.
Has that fly you call Pop been telling you something?
Clean the litter box for me, she says. And ask him yourself.