challenging

the guardian waits outside the door,
pacing to and fro.
it’s deep winter and there is ice
on every foot of the fence.
the gates are frozen stiff,
locked with clumped ice over the
keyhole.

the chain behind the gate is
solid, immobile with the dense
layer of ice.

the guardian has been out
in the cold
for several years now.
it is the way they
prefer to work.

the lock and fence are now
designated as challenges,
keeping anyone away.
the dwelling’s occupants
prefer to stay reclusive,
elusive, unseen.

a visitor stands outside the gate.
snow whips around in a flurry,
conceals everything from view.
there’s no chance of passing
through this gate.

the visitor stands and waits.

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