It haunted her after her fall.
Wakeful in the night
from the pain of a broken arm,
she wandered the farmhouse,
stepped onto the porch
for the breeze and the stars,

saw the barn owl, 
ghost-white, swoop,
pounce, lift off, something
small and bloody in its claws.
Its passage punched a hole
of silence in the night. 

After the stroke, the ghost
moved in. It occupied
her loneliness, stood guard
between her and the door,
grew more solid as she grew less.

It absorbed all joyful sounds–
morning birds, grandchildren’s
chatter, her own voice singing.