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  • Keith Banner

You Just Can't

what if everything

you know and love

is locked up


in an abandoned house?

and you have the

key


but don't know the location

of the house,

so you spend your days


walking around neighborhoods

looking for the house.

you know what the house


looks like,

giant and abandoned,

half-brick, half-vinyl-siding


some of the siding

ripped off

and showing dark brown flashing


and the lawn overgrown

and the sidewalk

covered in sad chalk drawings


and 2 little kids in the front

of the place

telling you they are


feeding a spider.

it's not their house.

it's not yours.

but everything inside

that goddamn

house


is what you know

and love.

you can't leave it alone.


you

just

can't.


neighborhood after neighborhood

gripping the little key

until it sinks into your palm


you get thirsty enough

to ask an old guy

watering his lawn


if you might

take a swallow or two

from the garden hose


he's holding

and he gives you the hose

and you drink the cold bitter


water,

the old man asking you

where you're from


what you're doing

in this

neck of the woods




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