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Donna Ashbaugh  (email)


About the Poet:

Donna Ashbaugh is a free lance writer who writes poetry and short stories. She has co-authored a poetry chapbook titled Mother Morning, Daughter Moon, Women's Words Are Never Done. Donna is a retired legal secretary and lives in southern California.





Dazzling glimmers mesmerize

as smoke spirals enchant.

In the muted light your fingers

spread fan-like on my breast and

rise as I slowly inhale, exhale.

Deep sleep consumes you, but I think about


how in our youth back seat interludes

       veiled our senses.

Now satin coverlets provide comfort.

The smell of you, the strength of you

       betrayed inhibitions.

Now your presence calms me and

images of you rarely stray

       from my mind.

Old eyes ignore bald spots

       and smile wrinkles.


As flames sputter, the glow dims

like the white streaks in my hair.

Still, you're there with your allure, your scent.

Now, deep sleep consumes us in candle's

       afterglow, and I reflect on youth no more.



Faded Photo


Five figures frozen in a photo shoot.

Great grandfather staring intently out at me.

Great grandmother in her best dress.

Young uncles fidgeting but suddenly still.

Secrets hide from the lens.


Her stone-eyed gaze buries the loss of three babies.

What grief she must have endured.

Does she know she will be proud of survivors?

Could she have known she would live 50 years more?


His kind face hides trepidations he is unwilling to reveal.

Tribulations crossing the Atlantic, saber wound at Vicksburg,

hard scrabble work and sod house on an Iowa farm.

Ailing for the rest of his life.


Three thriving brothers creating family trusts,

honoring parents, proud of accomplishments.

Continuing gazes beguile; contentment amazes.

Two depressions, two World Wars, the advent of Ford.


Would that we could step into the photo and speak.

Are you proud of the boys? Are you happy? What about the babies?

Minutiae unexposed--only glances, stares and wide-eyed gawks

protect secrets--fear, courage and fortitude.


The Beach


Miles of forlorn terrain

littered with empty sea shells

and dead crabs

       a deadly gush

            belies the horror


Alone on ghostly beach

trying to imagine the clamor

cries, screams and


          fifty years ago


Deafening thundering artillery

moaning timbre of the dying

frightened sergeants

       shouting orders

             all haunt


My feet leave prints in wet sand

I conjure up others left by the

dead and alive

       panicky and daring

             I sigh


I continue in the sand and

marvel at the curve of the land

lying silent--a peaceful country

      across the sea

            full of faded reflection



Double Vision


A nothingness lures me

to this fearsome sea.

It calls, intrigues--

I consider the entry

to this world.

What mysteries lie in the deep?

What discoveries wait for me?

What dilemmas to be alleviated

in this world of dismay?


On wing above

endless blue,

a calm belies what lies below--

existence or extinction?

Soaring over the

infinite cerulean,

I hurl toward the dark

dreading the deep.

Descending into the depths,

I want to breathe, to live,

yet, I'm frozen.

Love of life pressing on me,

reflection brief.

No time, but I fight.

No time, but I struggle.

I wait for the inevitable?





Shells, bombs, missiles

explode silent abodes.

Leaders pointing fingers, yet

death floats over

the debris, the devastation.


Tears at first. Anger next.

Young man with dreams

chooses a course--exact fate.

Mothers know. Fathers fear.

Young man with dreams no more.