Yehoshua November: Conjoined Twins

Vox Populi

My father was a resident in the hospital

when my young mother gave birth to them. Two bodies

and one heart.

And hearing that the pathologists at that teaching institution

were coming to learn the lessons

science’s rare cases could teach,

my father turned the combination

on his locker and concealed the stillborn baby boys in a box.

Early the next morning, another Jewish resident

stood over the bodies with my father,

performed the ritual circumcisions in the silence

of an unoccupied delivery room.

“Choose names you would not otherwise use,”

the rabbi had instructed over the phone.

At the burial my father asked why

this had happened. “Perhaps you are not

as religious as you should be,” the rabbi answered.

And the answer plunged God

into concealment for my father.

“I looked quickly

and saw them embracing,”

my mother later said

of the two boys, who were to…

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