Two-Headed Boy

We are strange instruments, you and I.
I have a harpsichord stuck in my throat,
first inversion vocal chords, piano keys
spelling out words in the letters of notes,

minor and major arpeggios, and you,
you are a saw, with jagged teeth
and cold faces smooth with wear.

In the broken light, wearing headphones
around your neck like a collar
or a laurel, crowned king

of firm handshakes and old, rough-
barked trees. You cut them down
and build the square structure
of a bachelor’s house around you

on young foundations. In the dark,
you watch the stage, where a man plays a saw
with eyes closed and muscles tense,

and you, with eyes open and still,
nailed to the floor, hands quaking,
mouth tasting solemnity in the shrill lyrics
and salty tears

with your body rocking back and forth,
the bow pulled across your chest
up bow, down bow, torso bending like the metal
and shaking.

Ben Read lives in Spokane, Washington, where he is a junior at Lewis and Clark High School. He has been recognized by inroads, RiverLit, Airplane Reading, and The Adroit Journal. Other than writing, he likes to assault people with philosophy while participating in speech and debate, attend and read at local poetry slams in tiny coffee and burrito shops, and listen to music similar to the Juno soundtrack. He wishes his dog Wally would be a better muse, but until then, he’ll have to stick with the river.

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