The Doppelganger


Last night I dreamt I saw him in the park.
I stopped but he waited, patient as a lamp post,
In his flab and his pallor and his appalling clothes.
He's never threatening–only "interested." He wants to talk.
But I see the bulge his gun makes,
And I know some day he'll use it.

Meanwhile, except at parties of friends we both dislike,
And in these dreams, I rarely see him.
His wife, who's the obvious original
Of the insipid women in his books,
Tries each time to bring us together.
"You have so much in common," she insists. And we cringe.

As to why or even whether I hate him I can't say.
Because he's my despair I'm unable to see him clearly.
And, naturally, I have no wish to.


Tom Disch, Yes, Let's: New & Selected Poems, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.