Coming in Second by Ruth Sabath Rosenthal


“Coming in Second” 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

conceptual happenstance. Yet
at times, I find myself more

akin to that than sanity
permits, and 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,

much the same way I exited the womb,
climbing over her in order to be first.



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RUTH SABATH ROSENTHAL is a New York poet, well published in the U.S. and,
also, internationally. In October 2006, her poem “on yet another birthday” was nominated
for a Pushcart prize. Ruth has authored five books of poetry: “Facing Home” (a chapbook) —
“Facing Home and beyond”– “little, but by no means small” — “Food: Nature vs Nurture”
and “Gone, but Not Easily Forgotten.” The books can be purchased from
Please feel free to visit Ruth’s website: and, also, her blogsite:

Author: A Room of Her Own

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