We climbed over the stonewall

and landed on the other side

at exactly the same time,

and with absolutely no sound.

Something didn’t want us here.

It was only 20 feet of sparsely littered

birch and maple saplings,

but still, something didn’t want us here.

One could tell.

I think it was the buzzing in the distance,

like the buzzing of a heat lamp

or something, that made me think this,

I couldn’t tell.

But something didn’t want us here.

Mr. Woodard, my basketball coach

took the first few steps toward the castle,

which floated in the distance

like the snout of an alligator.

Mr. Woodard,

why did you bring the ball? I said.

Shoosh, he said, or its ten laps.

Pat, his son, and my best friend,

pump-faked a maple

and then spun around once

before D-ing up on a birch who showed

some pretty impressive ball handling.

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