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He tells himself a tale his grandmother told:
Babuschka sleeps by the fire. Outside new snow
Laps the window. Camels look in from the cold.
Wise-crowned kings—they know her name—say, Go
With us, Babushka. Constellations stare down,
Choirs of startled silence. Bolting the door,
She stirs her fire. Like that, the moment’s gone,
Calling over its shoulder. Too late. Evermore,
The hermit’s grandmother said, Babushka travels
Up and down the whole world, knocking. Where?
Above his sharp tin roof, the wind unravels
Its silver skein. On his lintel he chalks the new year.
If a priest should knock, he’d have his creek water blessed.
He sprinkles it anyway, welcomes himself as his guest.

—Sally Thomas

Photo by Juan de Vojníkov via Creative Commons