The abandoned house down Deer Nest Lane

concrete blocks
still hang on
to their angle with sky,
try to ground themselves
in who they are, scent
of musty basement,
moss texture,
grotesque graffiti words,
symbols with no meaning.
Paint from spray cans
teenagers stole from
Ace Hardware to spray
their angst out. I imagine
the way shadows
of their narrow bodies bent
from paint clouds as they
muffled their noses into
their t-shirts. They painted
a circle around the handprints
left stamped over a door,
leaving them as they had
always been, one
larger than the other.

The teens didn’t remember
Clemmie or Walton
when they were young
and swayed to John Denver
in dense heat of July,
or the single pecan pie
Clemmie made at Christmas,
sharing a sliver piece
with each neighbor to make
it stretch between houses.
They didn’t know them even
from when their house
foreclosed. Someone said
their eldest came back
once, was seen creeping
around inside after that place
was just a broken tea cup,
bottom cracked, insides
stained, after coyotes went in
and roof turned to sky.

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About the Author

Liza Wolff-Francis is a poet and writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College who served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program's Selection Committee and continues on the organizing committee. Her writing has most recently appeared in the magazine El Palacio: Art, History, and Culture of the Southwest, Steam Ticket, We’Moon, among others. She has a chapbook out called Language of Crossing.

Liza Wolff-Francis
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