THE NATURE OF GOTHIC
I show you a girl running at night
among trees that do not love her
and the shadows of many fathers
without paths, without even
torn bread or white stones
under a moon that says nothing to her.
I mean it says: Nothing.
There is a man nearby
who claims he is a lover
but smells of plunder.
How many times will he have to tell her
to kill herself before she does?
It's no use to say
to this girl: You are well cared for.
Here is a safe room, here
is food and everything you need.
She cannot see what you see.
The darkness washes towards her
like an avalanche. Like falling.
She would like to step forward into it
as if it were not a vacancy
but a destination,
leaving her body pulled off
and crumpled behind her like a sleeve.
I am the old woman
found always in stories like this one,
who says, Go back, my dear.
Back is into the cellar
where the worst is,
where the others are,
where you can see
what you would look like dead
and who wants it.
Then you will be free
to choose. To make
- Margaret Atwood