A poem from Juvenile Detention Chaplain, Lisa Ashley

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.

 

© 2016, Lisa Ashley

 

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