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I Can't Leave


Walter Weinschenk

Raindrops grey,
Fall slow,
Land soft
Upon the ground;
I watched from my window
As the rain came down;
By afternoon,
The yard was
A shallow lake;
Nubile grass,
Soft and wavy,
Waded in the water,
Basked in the cool
And, in a sudden,
Turned toward me,
Summoned me,
Demanded that I
Walk the yard,
Breathe the air,
Step across
That newborn pond
And join the world
But I refused:
I cannot leave my room;
I don’t know why
But I just can’t leave.

If you love me,
Don’t come by
To draw me out;

There’s nothing you can do
To get me past the door;
I am captive
To an unforgiving gravity
That rises from within.

My work is done,
My calendar is clear,
No problems to solve;
I have no reason
To sit at a desk
With nothing to write

For hours at a time
Or stand by the window
Like some old sentry,
But I am too afraid
To venture out,
Cross the yard
And take my place
Among the living;
I have a purpose
That I can’t discern
And can hardly describe,
Some critical cause
That I don’t understand,
Nebulous and vague
Yet unrelenting;
I surrender to it everyday
Without knowing
What it is.

The ceiling
Is my only sky
And the only music
I care to hear
Is the silent sonata
Of empty rooms;
I am restrained
By a confounding tether
That runs relentless
Through my consciousness;
It holds me close
And won’t let go;
I need you to know,
For what it’s worth,
That I will not stray
Beyond these walls;
I will stay where I am
For as long as I can,
I just can’t leave.


Walter Weinschenk is an attorney, writer, and musician. Until a few years ago, he wrote short stories exclusively, but now divides his time equally between poetry and prose. Walter's writing has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of literary publications including Lunch Ticket, The Carolina Quarterly, The Worcester Review, Sand Hills Literary Magazine, Meniscus, Waxing and Waning and others. He is the author of "The Death of Weinberg: Poems and Stories" (Kelsay Books, 2023).  You can find more of Walter's work at

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