Assisted Living

by M.A. Schaffner

It moves faster than a cliché in common parlance,
the Oedipal attraction to the state before your birth.
Dwellings don the character of a wardrobe: diaper
to suit to baggy drawers–the home that was a dream

a tedious burden; here solace like a paper suit,
attractive and disposable, the half-way house
disguised as hotel lobby; behind the counter
a business-suited death. Nothing ominous in that

cologne, it’s called Inevitable or something like it.
A grin’s as good as a wink to what isn’t there
or passes through so rapidly: birth to broken teeth
and adolescent angst; ambition to guile and then

wistfulness or simple hatred. Feel your skills and knick-knacks;
fiercely hoarded over years, they take their leave like skiffs
crossing the river whose name we forget. Meet the boatman;
a shuttle goes there every day at ten.

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