Three poems, Steve Bellin-Oka


When I was younger, women often

took me aside to say how much

I looked like someone else:

a dead lover, a son, a brother.

Some of my doubles wore glasses

or had the same oversized lips.

One hanged himself after dinner

in the garage. Another forgot

his lunch pail and went back

through a lumber mill’s door

minutes before the explosion.

Most just went to the drugstore

and never came back. Even now,

in line at a bookstore or a café,

a woman will search my face

and the last time anyone

saw me alive, I was standing

far off on the opposite side

of a train platform, wearing

a dark suit. Or else, in another city,

I was crossing a downtown street

against traffic, whistling a tune

half-remembered, half made up.