Endsheet: Poetry

Twin Sons

A painting in muted gray tones of the same male figure repeated, as if reflected in a mirror.
GETTY IMAGES / francescoch

My sons’ socks, matched
and wound tightly
like their two faces,
sat heavy and hard in the hamper
while the day of their going
inched its way into our house.

My sons’ voices, deep and dry,
urgent without message on the line,
lent cadence to my pulse
each week, like a transfusion,
and I felt once more in every vein
the swim of their blood that is mine.

My sons’ letters each Tuesday
slipped their way under my door,
the one in script,
the other in print,
hand in hand
as if called by the same bell.

My sons’ beds, flat and starched,
nestled into a corner of their abandoned room,
propping the walls
against folding together
to hide the space left behind
where their two bodies slept.

My sons’ chairs at the table,
heavy with the smoke of their laughter,
on my left, on my right,
and nightly my eyes
move from space to space,
recalling the reasons I’d prayed.

My body on fire,
my lips held tight,
my arms flaccid and weak.
Could I have known at their births
that my twin sons would duplicate
their father’s one longing?

By Cleve Latham, BA’73, EdD’98


Cleve Latham is a teacher and writer in Chattanooga, Tennessee, who has published poetry, fiction and nonfiction in a variety of journals. The poem “Twin Sons” was originally published in issue 63 of The Write Launch.