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A New Year's white morning of hard new ice.

High on the frozen branches I saw a squirrel jump and skid.

Is this scary? he seemed to say and glanced

down at me, clutching his branch as it bobbed

in stiff recoil - or is it just that everything sounds wrong today?

The branches

clinked.

He wiped his small cold lips with one hand.

Do you fear the same things as

I fear? I countered, looking up.

His empire of branches slid against the air.

The night of hooks?

The man blade left open on the stair?

Not enough spin on it, said my true love

when he left in our fifth year.

The squirrel bounced down a branch

and caught a peg of tears.

The way to hold on is

afterwords

so

clear.

New Rule

Anne Carson

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