Four years ago, I went to the Middle East, and twins were everywhere. They popped up double in the labyrinths of Jerusalem, the gardens of Lebanon, and the kibbutz of Ein Gedi by the Dead Sea. When a motif presents itself, you at first become a collector. You collect for a time, knowing that the repetition is important but not knowing why, until you can connect, until you can apply. So along with documenting the lives of children in conflict for my teaching fellowship, I also collected twins.
I reconnected with my elementary school boyfriend, a photographer who had recently shot some celebrity twins. He was a person who throughout life kept circling back to me, like those loops on the figure eight or infinity sign. When I first met up with him in Tel Aviv, it was awkward for a loop, and then normal. We were fifth graders once again. In the Mazda that looked just like my Mazda, he drove me to the house by the sea to which I had air mailed letters as a teenager. We drove through a fire and fell asleep with cats under an enormous tree. We sat on the floor of his apartment, acting nonchalant, like we had when we were twelve before he moved away. Was he my twin?
Goats of Ein Gedi
Your shutter clicks twenty times
You want to frame two goats that look like one
“You only know it from their two little butts,” you say
And we all marvel at the unity of their horns.
On the hills of Ein Gedi they roam
A pair within a scattering herd
They stand out as lovers, best friends, twin goat souls
In a dry landscape.
Now turn your head!
And there is the Dead Sea.
You want to float there with me
and let our arms cross over?