Ashvamegh Featured Poet: October 2015 Issue: Bonnie Roberts

Bonnie Roberts is the featured poet for our October 2015 Issue of Ashvamegh. Read her beautiful poems here.


Poems by Bonnie Roberts

Along the Midway


Climb on life’s centrifuge.


Ride for pocket change,

or for free.

Whatever is in your pockets

will fly away.


We each have our compartment

on this fairway ride,

our bare place of metal,

with men and women

who have been drinking

or slamming speed

or going hungry

and without baths

to bar us

and strap us in,

to keep us

from flying away.


We all face outward

to the expanding universe.


But when the machine is still,

we can sometimes look over our shoulder

and catch a glimpse

of a soft blue sweater,

or a hand holding on,

or the white of an eye

a billion years old.


The rest is the comforting whirl

of darkness and stars

and midway light,

tinny music,

cotton candy, sawdust smells.


And a painted horse,

immutable, lacquered,


above our heads.



The Medicinal and Surreal Nature of God, the Day My Father Died


God is crazier than anyone, anywhere,

in any institution,

and I am his follower,

his nurse,

the lady with the shocks

and shots,


and neon bags of electrolytes.


I am God’s lover in the linen closet.

His maid in the Borax sheets.

His roped naked lady in the sanitized cage.

His salivating animal-man in the jacket.


I am God’s old woman who delivers

his little bunches of violets that smell

like ozone and plastic straws

to patient rooms.


I am his young man who mops up piss and vomit,

with neither smile nor frown.


I am his surgeon with the rubber gloves and knife,

the glinting eye and dangerous, capable hand.


Where did you put my father, Orderly?

In the hospital green bin?

I am sure your angels are in there, too,

singing songs of praise,

cutting me open,

turning my heart from side to side,


my gasps and heaves,

big blood wings, fanning the desire to live.


Like Daddy, I unplug from every socket and tie-down.

And there is Daddy.

Daddy, I say, my Daddy.

And the moon begins its ascent.

I am three

and Daddy lifts me to touch the moon.


God has gone to war

to operate in a hospital in the field

where anesthetics are few

and plasma flown in,

in an ice chest, by copter,

angels whirring in the moonlit blades.


Off the beaches of China,

nurses descend


like snowflakes.



Since I Died


I can sit in traffic

and watch cars go by

like notes

in a stream of music.


The infinite and the finite

exist on different sides

of a green leaf

that hangs from a limb.

One side shiny, the other rough pale.


If you turn it,

you can see the moment,

like you want.


Endless as suicide,

quick as a bee sting.

Quick as suicide,

endless as a bee sting.


A hailstorm can be cold,

or it can be a hot day in a purple garden of petunias

where you walk in squashy earth,

where you find a fat worm to feed

to a sick blue jay nestling.

And cars can be musical notes passing by,

playing something soft and soothing in your head,

that once ached.

The traffic light will become

the green of your cat’s eyes,

surrounded by white fur,

or snow.

Just a blink.


At any tide,

on one leg

or two,


we stand in sun

in St. Joseph Bay

beside our warm-feathered crane,


rain falls

on the sleepy tin roof

of childhood.


Jung was right.

Heaven is what you think it will be.

And if you think you deserve Hell,

Hell is what you will get.

I’ve been to Heaven, and I’m there now,

watching its glinting river


until the light changes.


I swim to the left,


into and across the China Sea,

or to an afternoon

of wild blackberries in wind

that bob

around my front porch


in no particular



My Family and I Used to Lie on a Quilt Beneath the Pines and Stars on Our Hill and Ask, Who Made God?What Is on the Other Side of the Universe? and Other Unanswerable Questions, And I Grew Up Believing In Mystery


God is fish people

who swim toward the sea.


God is Red Tornado,

who tears up the Earth

and trailer park in Boaz.


God is two blue snails,

quiet and eyeless.


God is sleeping elephant,

with the straight little tail.


God is sun,

the fireball with a tunnel in it.


Some of the fish people

will swim through the tunnel.


On the other side, they will find

Green, a child.

She paints in blue and yellow

on the forest floor of sky.


In a long wooden artist’s box,

clear jars of wet finger paints sit opened.


To whom do the jars belong?



How Hard It Is For Mankind to Tell the Truth


For some:

to search out the face of God,

across The Eleven Universes;

to find one corner

of one of God’s

delta ocean eyes;

to paddle for a million years to the center

of his eye

on a pelican’s amputated wing;

to stay afloat (given God does not blink)

for a millennium

in the liquid galaxies

of one dilated pupil;

to see one dust mote

of what God sees;

to return, by angels, to Earth,

long bereft of humankind;

to live on the bottom of a warm bay

as The Stingless

Ordained Jellyfish.


For others:

to be truthful is much harder.