The Capable

by Samantha DeFlitch

Through the rain-haze, the tollbooth appears 
heavy on the land, asking so much, demanding.
The night extracts. The rain-could-be-snow
takes our final dime. We could be gentle, here: 
the lagging deer can, given time and necessity, 
clear the berm. Once, even God slowed down
their car on the turnpike and waited for the lame
animal to pass. A wild and elemental moment for
God, who knew, and knows, and will know when 
all things die - but in this moment, gentle goes 
the passage, and it its own time. This is just to say: 
I, too, am worthy of the holy moment, this kind 
dimming of the headlights amid deluge and asphalt. 
Please: don't deal me out. Name me capable and
point my body where the road will guide me home.
Capable: it means bringing food to the children 
without hope. See: I drag my leg behind as I push
pills past the dog's throat; worthy woman trudging
through a remarkable life. Overhead, hanging 
far beyond the Pittsburgh smog and rain, stars 
have come out in real soaring spirals and the deer 
has taken up some yowl. A tired animal, and soft with 
eyes saying please: I was here. Don't forget about me. 

Samantha DeFlitch received her MFA from the University of New Hampshire, where she is the Associate Director of the Connors Writing Center. She is the author of Confluence (Broadstone Books, 2021). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Missouri Review, Appalachian Review, On the Seawall, Driftwood Press, and Hobart, among others, and she is the 2018 recipient of the Dick Shea Memorial Award for Poetry. She lives in Portsmouth, New Hampshire with her corgi dog, Moose.