“Three apples, this child,”
says the old woman beside me,
“Not a lot of twins these days,”
observes another: doppelgangers are
rare when nobody can see them.
Three apples, this child,
in the night woods of shadows and comfort, he follows and shapeshifts into a heart-piercing grown male,
she follows and finds him past the known world of her hairlessness
where the inhuman twins are carrying their beckoning apples.
they have fur and heat, too
they appear at the edge of the village,
sometimes with bundles of sweet red,
or green for a love potion
or yellow for the wooded sunrise winding into the east.
they arrive as the old shapeshifters,
beloved hidden in a cloak of marvelous danger
necessary, deeply and heralding
a happy death to all childhoods
song-speaking into warm beds in the great night, telling of futures past
the edge of the nursery
where for untrimmed beasts
at long last, the way is made open,
and the yearning halves of each become each,
these rightful pathways of good shadows,