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  • Keith Banner

I Can Be Your Hero Baby

poems

get on my last

fucking nerve

so here's # 14

about this cat

we used to have


actually we loved

vicki

with an i


born in a barn

wild little thing

chewed on plastic bags


like she was missing

something

skinny, too much


smoke-colored fur

for her

bony body


and a face full of

surprise

and hurt


always trying to get

away but always

looking at you


like it's

your

fault


and then

close to when she

died


she needed me

really bad

like she couldn't help it


crawled on my

lap

something she never did before


all bones

and cob-webby fur

and coiled nerve


wanting

me to be there

unlike anything before


holding something

like that

is a poem


for christ's sakes

it's a

poem


and that brings me

to my cousin

debby


crazy as hell

her whole life

teenage runaway etc


and then when she was in her forties

completely out of her

mind


because

I guess

she wanted to be


something

but life turned into marrying

a vietnam vet


and working

at a dentist's

office


and taking a lot of

psychotropic

medications


to get over

all

that want


and that last christmas

she was using a

real phony accent


european

maybe or

hell mexican I don't know


side effect

my mom said

of those meds


and we're in my mom's

trailer

and that one song by


enrique iglesias

is on TV

and debby gets bright-eyed


and she gets up

and she starts singing

along in that accent


caused by

all the pills she

needs to stay on earth


scattered bleach

blonde hair

deeply unsettling makeup


all of us watching

that, no escape from it

i can be your hero baby


i can kiss

your

pain away


and that's a

goddamned

poem


too




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