Sally Ashton


Beside me my husband reads Moby Dick
for the first time captive to the seas the salt
the sail he scrolls the pages waves of words
break over him pull him farther out
past the known horizon to open waters
of another time and place leaving me
as wives are often left watching from a shore
of pillows I long for a sighting he doesn’t notice
beyond the sky blue screen underneath the covers
my thighs stir two huge white-bellied fish
aroused from sleep they rise breech the blankets
whales not one but two who fall astride
the unsuspecting seaman dreams capsized
these too fearsome creatures from the deep


the year you tamed
the nesting crow—Joe—
another al Qaeda bomb
plot failed another reprieve
my mother
couldn’t manage her watch
called the computer TV you
called—Joe—threw a peanut
to make him strut closer
he complained outright
but snatched the nut you said
you waited ‘til he came
nearer every time
we began to think
he was the she of the pair
that year such birds
followed overhead
watched me through the window
from the roof from the rail
that year we were
finally on our own
and you tamed the crow
we knew
we could make it
—Joe—he landed
in a tree—Joe—
if we wanted to

Sally Ashton is the current Santa Clara County Poet Laureate and is Editor-in-Chief of DMQ Review. She is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Some Odd Afternoon. Honors include a fellowship from Arts Council Silicon Valley, a residency at Montalvo Arts Center, and several Pushcart nominations. She has taught in the Disquiet: International Literature Program in Lisbon and teaches at San Jose State University.