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a mighty mini post:

“ROOMINGHOUSE, WINTER” BY MARGARET ATWOOD

Catprints, dogprints, marks
of ancient children
have made the paths we follow

to the vestibule, piled
with overshoes, ownerless letters
a wooden sled.

The threadbare treads
on the stairs. The trails
worn by alien feet

in time through the forest snowdrifts
of the corridor to this remnant, this
discarded door

What disturbs me in the bathroom
is the unclaimed toothbrush.

In the room itself, none
of the furniture is mine.

The plates are on the table
to weigh it down.

I call you sometimes
To make sure you are still there.

Tomorrow, when you come to dinner
They will tell you I never lived here.

My window is a funnel
for the shapes of chaos

In the backyard, frozen bones, the children’s
voices, derelict
objects

Inside, the wall
bickles; the pressure

balanced by this clear
small silence.

We must resist. We must refuse
to disappear

I said, in exile
survival
is the first necessity.

After that (I say this
tentatively)
we might begin

Survive what? you said.

In the weak light you looked
over your shoulder.
You said

Nobody ever survives.

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