A poem from Juvenile Detention Chaplain, Lisa Ashley
of antler-hardening season,
behind a Mt. Rainier cloud,
etching a snow cone Madrona
in its glow.
The bucks begin
their pointed clashes
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,
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,
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?
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
the bucks fight in breeding season,
mounting the does when they are in estrous,
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