To call Utamaro's girl a victim
of facelessness isn't quite right

because of what depleted uranium is doing
to babies in what used to be Babylon; it isn't quite right
to call some of the variations faces

because the markers aren't there, the noses,
the eyes, the mouth— what face without them?
what irony— though it isn't quite enough

to call it ironic— that when faces may be uncovered,
cauls and veils slowly lifted, there is nothing
underneath some of them but blankness

as if cauls and veils had been erasers. To call it
clean slate and fresh start isn't quite right.
That there is voicelessness goes without saying,
will have to go without saying

though other parts of the body can produce sound,
especially offensive noises to express dissatisfaction,
normality, and disgust. Legal documents can still

be signed as blindly as ever, attorneys will still have power
and will still be below the threshold for determining
what is absolute. International frogs

are sympathizers, the odd-numbered legs,
even— numbered heads; the frogs quietly take on
entanglement, linked to consequences

of what is done to infants no matter how well isolated
these events are to certain cities and beliefs. Particles
leak. Every day, more

codes to break, to access codes intact under them,
Paul Tessier a good example, his smashing of cadaver skulls
against stone walls, some blocks already stained enough
with grapes and white peaches
though those blanc peche stains were invisible,
but he sensed them, so smashed
the skulls there, in locations accustomed to upheaval
on many scales, blind moths flew into them
and made a splash of wing like paint
— not every night, but often enough—
and Tessier broke the code by breaking skulls
to learn the pattern of cranial and facial breakage,
the preferences of fracture,

and then the motivation to learn how to reset bones, tiny pieces
as delicate as picking the delectable from escargot
whose shells Tessier could crush in his hand, and did,
to overcome his patience, his idea
about skull fracture entangled with how he ate snails,
how his vocal cords expanded in a culture of red wine
just as mind should expand; entanglement can deform
and reform but doesn't have to. And yet

twin Muscovites reportedly born this millennium
have been affected, one born with no face, the other
born with two, reputable physicians
would have the world believe, and the obvious,
which has been a part of none of this,
so can mix with nothing, is not a consideration;

the extra face can be removed and transferred, but there
is hesitation in the name of preservation
of once-in-a-millennium occurrence not mistaken
for second coming despite the timing. The faces are layered,
the same blood vessels route through both, loop dependency:
they are his nourished personality, they already help
him dig deeper:
                             the deeper face faces inward,
though the stack, not being aligned perfectly,
allows one eye to see behind him peripherally.
He is making money already, a medical first,
still called medical impossibility, a moral first
for the genuine literality of two-facedness.

A fee to see him, study him, figure out
how to burp him, to see for yourself if he vomits
from both mouths. A fee that helps his brother
whose life is easier, pampered, because there is nothing
to see, to pick out his face from the crowd,
it is necessary to look at the doubled brother.

It is hard to say which products might be right for him
to endorse, which sales might double
because I have sympathy. He can not give up any of this
to the twin born without complexity,
eating through a tube just as insects do
sucking up nectar
that could all come from the flowers in the room;
his toes twitch as if he smells them. Face parts
or whole face collected from the generous dead

can somehow be attached or combined
with conventional prosthetics; he has an optic
nerve, olfactory and auditory canals, set
of drums, plumbing, the underground
rigging, the pipes, shallow roots of milk teeth, two
shallow holes (as if vampires assisted) doing
the nose's job so that he breathes, airway is there,
everything that should be below the surface is. Growing

up by Chernobyl, his mom loved the passage
of geese. In general loved examples of flight.
She looked for this.
Hundreds of birds could come together to make solid
night sky, separating after many hours to allow light
by reducing and minimizing wings. As if just for her,
perhaps the only one watching. Nuclear waste
flew one day into her soup, and that was that, fallopian
and ovarian hocus pocus and harem scarem, that old
black magic putting on another show. Too many nuked cooks
spoil her broth, so many molecules, billions and billions
of atoms serving her air and everything: try to tip them all.

Even if this is a hoax, it serves some need someone has
to test believability, to test balance. There is some need
to fabricate it and accept whatever comes because no one knows
the limits of what can come, because in everything is some
necessity; that is the cruelty of jokes and of imagination.

The boys were cheek to cheek in utero, there was a bond;
they couldn't overcome it, when they had to separate
to be born individually, one face came off, sticking
to his brother, stamps do that, that brother keeping
his brother's face, entangled, desperate love

— like divers sharing a tank of oxygen, I want to think,
because that is beautiful, their heads together,
their unity of four kicking legs, their joint bubbles
like fertilized eggs surrounding an octopus
becoming a small cathedral.