Cuates

by Jose Hernandez Diaz

When my twin brother tells me stories about
His troubled youth: running with gangs, drugs, etc.

I think how lucky he is, and I am, and the family is
That nothing worse happened to him. I know he’s

Actually a good guy, even though he ran with wolves.
I think he was just looking for companionship.

He found it in fellow bald-headed misfits: latchkey kids
Who lived in low-rent apartments in middle-class suburbs.

Maybe I was a bad twin brother. I had sports. I had friends.
I know I don’t owe him an apology, though: he’d just laugh it off.

Besides, we’ve become closer now that we’re in our thirties.
Watch sports together. Go to the same libraries. Have lunch together.

No point in dwelling on the past. Adelante. Siempre adelante.
But I do find it ironic that I can never remember the distinction

Between the Spanish words for identical and fraternal twins.
Let me look it up. Oh, yes: gemelos means identical twins; same egg.

Cuates means fraternal twins; different egg, like us.

Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. He is the author of The Fire Eater (Texas Review Press, 2020). His work appears in The American Poetry Review, Bat City Review, Cincinnati Review, Huizache, Iowa Review, The Nation, Poetry, The Progressive, The Southeast Review, and in The Best American Nonrequired Reading. He tweets at @JoseHernandezDz.