Brother Tortoise, Brother Hare

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Contributor: David Calbert

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He plays violin under my bed
One floor below
Sharp notes stab through the gauze of sleep
Lancing cotton dreams stuffed in my ears

I’ve slept through the school day
Repelled by healthy hours
Seduced in sheets of smoky indulgence

He’s coiled like a brass string
Squeezing the air from his lungs
The sleep from his eyes

Treatment is prescribed
In phrases made effervescent by
Constant cough drops that numb the tongue
His hands shake

It’s true, I launch into the night
A bottle rocket
Propelled by fizzing hangovers
And chalky gunpowder
Breaking the word “Tomorrow”
Between my teeth again and again
Like gin soaked ice cubes

His fingers crisscross sometimes
Small snakes waging war with
Jointed bodies
Fighting for hours

He plays the violin
Climbing chromatic scales with sweet agony
Drawing out the years in steady metronome
He gets better
The strings stop shrieking

I lay in a bed of good intentions
And think about all the things I’ll do

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David Calbert lives in California. He writes fiction, essay, the occasional poem, and is still trying to find his place. He also tends to drink whiskey and talk about bad ideas for horror movies.


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