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Only More So by Millicent Borges Accardi

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Buying Sleep

Accardi, Millicent Borges

My brother leans over 
in the cabin bedroom 
that we shared once 
a year and says to me
—now mind you
this is the brother I have 
hated all my life—
he leans over the bunk bed. 
Yes, he got the top.
He leans 
into the springs 
like he’s an old car 
all 12 years 
of him, and he
says to a boy half his age,
a boy tossing and fearing
outhouse snakes,
and the awful windy
silence, the calm of the desert 
and the unfed
spring of the fear of Father
for still being awake 
when the rest 
of the sane world is not.
Now this brother leans over
and asks in the sweetest voice possible:
“Wanna buy some sleep?” In the darkness 
I nod and, then, realizing years later 
say, “Yes,” aloud and so he begins.
He gathers up a cocoon of sleep 
in his hands and tucks in my feet, 
my ankles, my legs, my torso 
and then zips it up tightly under my chin
almost as if he loved me.

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