Full Buck Moon

Native-named orb
of antler-hardening season,
it slow-rises
behind a Mt. Rainier cloud,
etching a snow cone Madrona
in its glow.

The bucks begin
their pointed clashes
for dominance,
for the does,
as summer moves into fall, ritual
not often seen or heard by humans.

Sipping, wrapped in a fleece robe,
visited by baby raccoon and elder black cat,
breath slow-moving in and out,
moon watching,
trying to let go of her story:
rape, then raging violence and death;
he raped and beat her
before she shot him with his own gun.

The moon glimmers in gold seams
inside the rock-mountain cloud
until bright beams burst,
flooding over
white gooseneck in the yard,
lighting up the fragile white butterfly.

Did he place his gun on the car seat
before forcing her?
Did she see it shining
in the streetlight?
Desperate,
she grabbed it up
to stop the pain.

Charged with murder one,
prosecutor claims pre-meditation.
She is old enough to know
what she was doing, they say.
Just turned 16, to be tried as an adult,
did she pre-meditate his attack?

Driven by self preservation
and testosterone
the bucks fight in breeding season,
mounting the does when they are in estrous,
un-witnessed.
Does the doe submit each time?

She waits for weeks, alone with nightmares,
in a limbo of fear-filled unknowns
abandoned by heroin-addicted parents
and friends who think they know what happened.
It’s like a surreal movie, she says.
Tears slide down like the setting moon.


Bacon Bits

Fifty years on I still love bacon.
You’d think the fry-smell would repulse me,
the crispy salted fat
choke in my craw.
I order it each time I breakfast out
refusing to tether this pleasure
to those early morning visits
when your heavy calloused hands
slipped under my flannels
while the others still slept.
You offered a back rub.
I never said no.

Your touch felt good
at first,
loving, comforting
as melt-in-the-mouth
crackling pork is still.
Desire for your love
outweighed the shame
that hung about me all the day.
I carried my dark secret
like a pregnant sow,
heavy in the belly,
smothered against my heart.

Sneaky hands
wandered with purpose
like pigs in the pen rooting for slop,
roaming up and down
then under
to my breast buds,
slipping under my waistband
down over my little piggy butt,
soft and tender,
smooth as baby powder.
This strange backrub-not-backrub
morning after morning,
why did you do it?

Summer of Birds

To Cooper

You and I discovered birds one summer.
Ten years old, you brought home
the stack of library books.
You sat with binoculars,
watched and listened,
learned movements, colors and songs
of different feathered ones.
You created a backyard habitat,
your checklist in hand.
Audubon would be proud, I said,
forty-five species recorded by summer’s end.
The love of those days exceeds my life list.

I spy the golden-crowned kinglet today,
his herky jerky flight
branch to branch outside my window,
unique from chickadees and juncos,
you taught me.
And now the bushtit flock arrives.
I watch them eat and travel on their way,
as they do every day.
Once you stood stock still,
seed-filled palm outstretched,
until the pine siskin landed for his snack.
You knew he’d come,
such patience, such faith
in your calm young soul.

I sit in grief as each news story
invades my afternoon solitude,
hatred unleashed.
We are behaving badly, taking sides,
raging and trolling,
transported into a nightmare
from which we cannot wake.
What burdens will four, or worse,
eight years of this travesty of a president
produce in your life,
so undeserved of your kind and tender self?
What legacy has been laid on
your young shoulders?

Low-slanting winter sun blinds me
as I hang hummingbird nectar
in the midst of afternoon buzzing tweets.
In the very early dark of this morning I heard
the eagle’s insistent calling again, close,
second day in a row, rousing me
from my dreams.
What did she want of me?
What was she declaring to her world?
Rain taps the metal roof,
fir branches sigh in the first winds.
You have fledged the nest.
Boundless mother-love spurs me up, up,
out into the new day.

I sit in grief as each news story
invades my afternoon solitude,
hatred unleashed.
We are behaving badly, taking sides,
raging and trolling,
transported into a nightmare
from which we cannot wake.
What burdens will four, or worse,
eight years of this travesty of a president
produce in your life,
so undeserved of your kind and tender self?
What legacy has been laid on
your young shoulders?

Low-slanting winter sun blinds me
as I hang hummingbird nectar
in the midst of afternoon buzzing tweets.
In the very early dark of this morning I heard
the eagle’s insistent calling again, close,
second day in a row, rousing me
from my dreams.
What did she want of me?
What was she declaring to her world?
Rain taps the metal roof,
fir branches sigh in the first winds.
You have fledged the nest.
Boundless mother-love spurs me up, up,
out into the new day.

Three Pleasures

I.
Whump-whumping grouse
softly booming out his territory
perches on the rocky ridge
in pristine air
ruffling his feathers
attracting his mate, he hopes
as we all do,
on this early spring day.
Faintly resonant,
that wing-beating sonorous sound
insistent, incessant,
until I was sure I heard and understood
the secret pleasure he promised.

II.
Plate planted before her,
steam softly swirling up,
she leans slightly forward
face stilled over the soup
curiously anticipating.
She pokes the onions, spears the toast,
slips a bit of melted cheese into her mouth,
slyly sniffing it first.
A tiny satisfied smile blooms, savoring.
I hide my own
at her politely hidden,
very obvious pleasure.

III.
Hiding in the bathroom with a novel,
Wandering the aisles reading labels
of sumptuous foods never before purchased
concocting lavish imaginary meals,
Coffee, warm-cupped in cold hands
on the summer morning deck,
communing with busy bathing birds,
People-watching in the coffee house
slow-sipping, delicious
eavesdropping behind the computer,
Chocolate melting on the tongue.

Sinless pleasures.

© 2017, Lisa Ashley

One thought on “Full Buck Moon and other poems by Lisa Ashley

  1. There are some rich and vivid images in these, as well as a gamut of emotions! I think one of the yardsticks most people use to decide if poetry works or not, is if it stirs emotion(s) within the reader. Your poems succeed in this very well. Thanks for sharing these with us this month. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Discussion is welcome! Thank you ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s