Numerical Happenstance

by Ruth Sabath-Rosenthal

Body chilled by years of neglect,

my twin lies in a hospital bed


trying to grasp how she’s come

to this. The sum of my fears,


she’s the one person I dread

I could be, save for some kink


in our link of genetic fiber.

Struggling not to catch her death


of cold, I’ve steered clear of her

notion that our birth was not just


numerical happenstance. Yet,

at times, I find myself more


akin to that concept than sanity

permits, & though I fall into


the black hole of her undoing,

so far I’ve managed to climb back


out & into the asylum of my life.

Out, according to my twin,


the same way I exited the womb,

climbing over her in order to be first.



Ruth Sabath-Rosenthal is a New York poet, well-published in literary journals and poetry anthologies throughout the U.S. and internationally. In October 2006, her poem “on yet another birthday” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Ruth has authored 5 books of poetry: Facing Home (a chapbook), Facing Home and Beyond, little, but by no means smallFood: Nature vs Nurture, and Gone, but Not Easily Forgotten. For more about Ruth, please feel free to visit her website: