LUNACY / Ariel Rathbun


Taken by night she returns

to the cold mounds of earth

hunkered on human haunches

branch of a body      senses sharp     

tongue loose       panting a ghostly vapor    

Her moss mouth reeks 

hair a mangled mane 

hands that dig 

of calloused knuckles, knees

feet toughened by turf

She remembered

the prick of pain

the piercing flesh while carried

by her not-so-naped a neck

A fierce cold terror

averted her vicious hunger

Spared from certain death

this grey-wolf mother 

belly and breasts full

took the edge off raw fear

Captive to her fur-bodied family

she was cuddled, lulled

by steaming hot breath

Sharing another mother’s milk

Not quite child, not quite woman

this feral creature of private agonies


Though well-intended men

plucked her nakedness from the ledges

from the shadows

down to the world of dresses, shampoo

and cooked dead food

Useless attempts to aright, clothe and contain her

for she was surrounded by far too much white

Tearing off layers

Silence gave way

to nightly howls

Chin raised      

mouth pointed up to the perfect pearl

hanging high against the deep night indigo

A crackling cry erupts the surface

Pushed from the very quick of her existence

pitched with an inexplicable loneliness

She waits

She beckons

She walks her wooden floor

on four legs, pacing, circling

not a predator’s stare at the opal radiance

Of woman born, she-wolf suckled

she will die

yearning a full out run

up and beyond the hills

Into the night she returns

to the cold mounds of earth

hunkered on human haunches  

branch of a body      senses sharp     

tongue loose      panting a ghostly vapor

The lure of a full moon eclipsed them,

the well-intended men

The night was again with child

Ariel       1996-2019

Ariel Rathbun 

has lived in Seattle since 1979, holds BA in dance and later a teacher of young children. She has been a dancer, physical performer, photographer and painter. 
Poetry has been emerging from her for a long time, a constant companion
She has taken classes with some very inspiring teachers at Hugo House.
Absolutely passionate about the ocean and other shores, she retreats there to write and regroup whenever possible.

She is both adopted and a birthmother, working on a collection of poetry on the theme, called Beautiful Bastards, the Alchemy of Adoption. It is a mix of poetry, storytelling, edges of subconscious/dreamscapes, allegory/myth/fairytale….delves into the ethereal, the natural world, visceral experience and a touch of whimsy.

Her style includes: spontaneous, surreal, narrative, associative, lyrical and imagistic. 

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