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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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THE DOPPELGANGER EFFECT



    

Proficient in neither Science nor Math,

I cannot explain the Doppler effect,

whether General or Relativistic.

A kindred effect, the doppelganger,

may, however, fall within my purview.

Something of a cliché, to tell the truth,

this effect also occurs when a train,

local, express, passes one stopped, or slow.

 

Let me explain. Once, a trick of my brain

turned the faces we passed into fragments

of my past. A gnarled, twitchy old white man

became a delighted little boy at

a birthday party--my fifth, I recall.

Years later, I went on a stillborn date

with his sister, a Physics polymath,

who fended off my fumbling advances.

 

A second passenger, this one staring

into space, a long, lean, guarded Black man,

merged with the Head Glass Washer at the club

in the hotel where, a college boy, I worked

for three summers. Whenever a glass broke,

his tag line was, “No sweat, don’t mean a thing!”

implying that our job was short on swing.

We labored to breakage continuously.

 

This doppelganger-ing effect involves

both space and time, not to mention people

and the iron laws of our genetics,

linking us through not only hominids

like Australopithecus sediba,

and, in historical times, Genghis Khan,

but shared features: mouths, noses, eyes and ears.

In that sense, black? white? We all look alike.

 

                                                          -Ron Singer