why do we
time and time and time again
hurry back to the same hardware store
to buy a quart of milk
when the owner of the nuts and bolts
has informed us innumerable times
in cold exasperated tones
that they do not sell milk

“if I’ve told you once
I’ve told you a thousand times
we don’t sell milk in this store
you buy that, across the street —
see the big sign in the deli window — MILK .79 QT,
that’s where you go for milk, not here
so get lost — stop bothering me
and don’t come near again.”

and why do we
after hearing all of that,
drag ourselves back again and again
to the same hard shop
to ask for the milk
we know in our hearts
they don’t keep in stock