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Samantha DeFlitch



the poet

Sam DeFlitch, author of Confluence, is a National Poetry Series finalist. Her work has appeared in The Missouri Review, Colorado Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Appalachian Review and in On the Seawall, among others. Sam has received awards and fellowships from the Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing, The Massachusetts Poetry Festival, and the University of New Hampshire, where she completed her MFA.

the poems


00:00 / 01:39

                                   This is what happened: I found

                                   the wren frozen stuck to the ground

                                   and I kept on moving. The onion

                                   snow came too late this year;

                                   the hard freeze took out the plums.

                                   Some farmer kept the coal

                                   barrels burning through the night.

                                   Another lit half his land

                                   on fire to save the grapes. Some

                                   theologians think God gave us grapes—

                                   but not wine—so we, too, could find

                                   joy in creation. See: we make bread

                                   to be torn apart, hot. Hot and full

                                   of yanked-up wheatsheaf. We

                                   love the dog even though we know,

                                   we know—be it love or oats,

                                   we know it when we plant it—

                                   most things don't make it out alive.

                                   This is just to say: I'm not a

                                   theologian, or a farmer, or even

                                   the woman who scooped up the wren's

                                   body, tucked it in a plastic bag,

                                   and kept it in her freezer between

                                   the berries and winter greens,

                                   waiting patiently for the final thaw

                                   to bury it in soft earth. I'm just

                                   a girl with an emergent deer in her

                                   cupped palms; a girl saying: Look! This is

                                   what I have created with my grief.

                                   This is what love has made out of me.

Garbage Night

00:00 / 01:54

                                  It is Thursday night.
                                  It is garbage night.
                                  The trash is my old clothes
                                  and my old clothes are slipping through my hands.
                                  My hands are a box full of flies.
                                  The flies are taking off with my hair –
                                  look! I am bald. I am my mother’s truck engine.
                                  I am the space the deer left sleeping in the ferns.
                                  I am 7:52 in the evening.
                                  See, the sun has already set
                                  and the dog is crying to go out. Am I her, too?
                                  Her nose raised, twitching, into the evening air?
                                  My parents are getting old.
                                  I don’t like to say that out loud, but it’s true.
                                  The dog is old, too.
                                  I am rubbing the dog’s legs.
                                  I am a car full of empty coffee cups –
                                  see, I can’t bring myself to dump them.
                                  They remind me of yesterday.
                                  I am all the days that the sky
                                  has broken clear and cold,
                                  spilling oranges across the dawn-line.
                                  I am the Ohio line.
                                  I am West Side Road after all the tourists
                                  have left for the day I am
                                  laying myself down on the asphalt
                                  to watch the stars come out
                                  in real soaring spires above my head
                                  until the dog begins her howling.
                                  I am waking all the days.
                                  I am the ferns, and I keep space for you,
                                  for the coffee cups. I am
                                  peeling my long body
                                  off asphalt, and gone round back
                                  to feed the chickens.

Final Thaw of Soft Earth

00:00 / 01:29

                                  Something's not right with my river,
                                  my mother says. And it is Truth: each
                                  night the beavers pull apart saplings,
                                  pull them apart fresh and at the edge.
                                  The river gets blocked. The water stops
                                  and at night I hear howling in the east.
                                  In the year of the year of the plague —
                                  this the age I restring my mother's
                                  mother's Miraculous Medal and hang it
                                  from my dash — the days are long as
                                  a year. Ticks fall like spring melt
                                  from branches and cling to the legs
                                  of the moose calves. A great fir tree
                                  falls on a man as he sleeps. The mountain
                                  is angry, my mother says, and it is Truth.
                                  In the days after this, another surgeon
                                  would open me. There is never any
                                  good explanation for my pain, which
                                  is real. I must have it. Night after night,
                                  this racket in the woods; the re-
                                  building of the thaw-rushed dam which,
                                  this time around, might make a good home.
                                  This remarkable rumpus chirping hope.

Publishing credits

Confessional: Barren Magazine (Issue 19)

Garbage Night: On the Seawall

Final Thaw of Soft Earth: Moist Poetry Journal


S h a r e

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