There is a house out in the woods.
Its windows are broken, spiderweb cracks shivering the glass.
Frost on the panes like dead ferns.
Snow has drifted up the house’s peeling, weatherworn sides.
Where shingles have fallen, cavities gape. The house’s gums are swollen.
Walls groan with the wind.
The porch has splintered into brittle shards. Warped with time, it buckles inwards.
Rains stain a mottled pattern in the dark paint.
The doors are gaping mouths.

A muddy lane escapes from the porch, choked with thistle and ragwort.
Trees lean over the lane. They shadow the path, crows around dead roadkill.
They drop leaves into the house’s rusted gutters.
When spring comes, the wood rots further.
Water swells its joints
wears away the pockmarked foundation.
A late snow collapses the northwest corner of the ceiling.

The snow melts.
From overhanging trees, movement stirs in quick flickers.
Claws chitter on bark.
Through the hole in the ceiling, odds and ends begin to fall.
A shower of twigs
Wool, raggedly chewed
A clump of leaves
Pine needles
The shredded remnants of an old sock.
The squirrel makes its drey between two rafters.

Water seeps through the broken boards of the porch.
Moss begins to grow there, clinging to the uneven gaps.

Spring ends. Five squirrels are living under the rotted roof.