Assisted Living Facility

Assisted Living Facility

Samantha DeFlitch

Across from St. Bede’s. Here
a young man with

his holding gloves and an owl
outside the window

of an old woman watching
her soaps. Her sill:

rosary beads, two blood
pressure cuffs

and photo frames that push
time through

her drawn-out years. She was
once a train

station. Found sensible love
in the old country.

Spoke Polish in reverse. Back
further, war and war.

Fish egg. Magpie shot and book
of heaven and war.

Childbirth. And a girl whirling
to a balalaika,

ritual against ghost-drawing
winter dusk.

Cold snap. Babushkas like
nesting dolls,

opening their bodies to more
little babushkas,

brought forth already full of
prophecy and slouching.

The years of sloping
blue and pine,

bread, chipping at ice with a
blunt blade.

All at once, language loses
meaning; a flame

casts long shadows on a cabin
wall as the dogs

creep closer and begin.
Look! The young

man taps the window,
gestures until our

old woman threads out a smile.
Then the owl

turns its white head
and becomes.

Samantha DeFlitch