Braided Veins
(Raymond Luczak)

Braided Veins

as we grow up as twins youd speculate this or that bully would probably grow to be bald & fat     i would laugh at the notion saying it was not possible    after all them boys were so muscular     but you would be so wise beyond years     youd tell me that im gay before i knew     you would say not to worry about what others think when it comes to the man i end up loving     they arent sleeping with him     you are so whys it a problem     you would tell me later that youre gay too     we would find it odd how similar our tastes in men are     our husbands would feel lonely & commiserate together now & then when they watch us jabber away in our alone time     we would constantly reassure them that we still love them very much     but we are twins & twins have their own thing deeper than blood deeper than family deeper than love     we two mirror each other in ways no one else can we understand each other in ways everyone longs to be     we would know each others innermost secrets     we would always be thinking of each other no matter how far apart we are     we wouldnt think of each other by name just a presence lingering in our braided veins     we would know just when to text each other & when not to     we would know how to reassure our men when they are just like everyone else envious of our bond     we wouldnt dress the same     thats so childish     we would have our own individual lives     we would tire of strangers quizzing if it was true that we could read each others mind     we would trade glances & laugh yeah right but secretly there have been times we felt we could wed never tell anyone about those times     not even our own husbands     we would show up at our family reunions our siblings now fat & old would talk to you more than to me     hed tell them hey talk to him     hes my twin you know     my eyes would shoot daggers at their faces     didnt they get that fucking memo how family was supposed to love each other unconditionally no matter what just like how you & i love each other like brothers like best friends better than soulmates    youd roll your eyes each time they tried to make a joke     by then youd have learned some asl     you wouldnt be that great with your signing but i would feel guilty in asking you to interpret for me what they were all saying     not being fluent enough youd simply summarize     no more ill tell you laters & forgetting     after too many reunions where i was ignored youd tell everyone that you & i werent coming back ever because i dont deserve being ignored    hes deaf so you guys fucking deal with it     you would storm out & id join you in your car while our husbands sit in the backseat     id watch you drive with rage whitening your knuckles     id tell you that you didnt have to say that     youd say i dont care     the way they treat you like that still     our own family     fuck     later id join my husband in the backseat     his hand finds mine    i feel like a lost family all over again     your husband is always careful to slow down for me     hes not easy to lipread but i can tell hes so good for you     its so easy to forgive him as long as he tries to make himself clear     my dear husband would be deaf     youd always make a point of making him laugh with your silly facial expressions     he too wouldve grown up in a hearing family like i have     he doesnt like them     he hadnt understood growing up how hearing families can be toxic     sometimes you have to quit them cold turkey or do suicide     he doesnt like my family either     a true family is a group of people who totally get you     they dont look down on you or ignore you     they dont give you fake smiles when they see you     they dont ask you how are you doing & ignore you the rest of the evening     hey if you werent happy i wouldn’t be happy either     we look at each other our blood pulsing in the air between us

Somewhere Deep in the Pool of My Brain

shimmers you, following me
wondering where you are
floating and hiding
in that canyon between my two halves.
You are the single glimmer
that catches my eye
no matter how pitch-black
the highway flares
dimmed in dull pain
blink and warn, warn, warn.
You are a most wonderful


Raymond Luczak is the author and editor of 22 books, including Flannelwood: A Novel (Red Hen Press), A Babble of Objects (Fomite Press), The Last Deaf Club in America (Handtype Press), and QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology (Squares & Rebels). A ten-time Pushcart Prize nominee, he lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is online at