accidental tourist – Annette Kalandros

I entered life an accidental tourist.

My mother’s body served an eviction notice,

But I ignored it and burrowed deeper

Into placental warmth.

My twin, however, weaker,

Entered the world a clotted, bloody,

Gelatinous mess on the white tile

Of a bathroom floor.

The doctor told the man,

Who wasn’t really my father

But thought himself to be,

There was still a heartbeat,

Still a baby left. 




I felt the absence of my twin,

the lack of another’s heart

beating a rhythm to match my own,

racing toward emergence, light, life, breath.




A ghost-like memory I carried with me

Always– Even when I, who survived

By claiming squatter’s right

To my mother’s uterus

As it tried to evict me

And who had never been told

Of my twin’s existence, would

Turn in childhood play and talk

To my twin sister.

My mother asking to whom I talked

And I answering—My twin sister.




Now, I recognize my mother’s twisting face

Of guilt as she turned from my childhood answer:

The long walk from the restaurant’s apartment

To the stores on Broadway to buy school

Supplies; the washing down of the restaurant

Walls over and over again; the bed rest the doctor

Said she needed when she was spotting, her body

Threatening to throw out the babies she carried, ignored—

My twin and I, the children of another man,

We had to go.




But I clung, held on—born

The accidental tourist in life,

Observing for my twin,

The twin I still feel.

Sixty-one years later,

Still listening for a heartbeat

In the same rhythm as my own.



Annette Kalandros, a retired teacher, residing in Houston, TX with two French Bulldogs, writes to make sense of things—life, the world, the inner workings of her own mind and soul.  In addition, she had been active in the LGBTQ community since was four years old and marched her Ken doll with all his little Ken accouterments to the big metal trash can in the yard. Her two Barbie dolls lived happily ever after. Her work has been included in the anthology, As The World Burns.

You can read more of her write at Hearing The Mermaids Sing

5 thoughts on “accidental tourist – Annette Kalandros

    1. Wow Annette, absolutely stunning, and something I never knew about you. It is no wonder the words that come from you are so profound. You speak for two. I am awed.

      Liked by 1 person

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