My Songbirds

There is beauty in her.
The way she moves,
Like she’s in a perfect rhythm with the earth.
She hums in sweet sixths with the birds,
While I settle in dissonance,
Lost in the sound.

There is wonder in her;
Her eyes gleam with passion,
and the birds sing, now in thirds.
Meanwhile, I remain in dissonance,
Lost in the sound.

Another Note to God

I cry and break down a lot
I lie and say I'm okay when I'm really not
I reminisce and look at my wrist at all the scars I've got
When you took my mother at 10 months the heartache started
God bless the souls of ALL the dearly departed
Please tell me is my child up there?
You taking her still doesn't seem fair
I get depressed and won't come out for days
God forgive me for my vengeful ways
Daddy beat me I blamed myself
The pills and therapy, I tried to get some help
Ended putting my heart back on the shelf

Stages of Grief

Stages of Grief
by Joan Leotta

 
The first week
My world is spinning
"That's nothing, the world always spins,"
 they tell me.
"They" always know best.
Their world is fixed
on its axis, firm and sure
Mine has lost its axis,
whirling and twirling
out into space,
out of control.
I am oblivious to all but my loss.
 
Three months after
I am quiet
when I used to laugh
Sad
when I used to be pensive
Still awake

Stairway

The stairway sits empty
In silent echoes from yesterday
When so much
Filled the halls, darkly,
Like a performance at Carnegie Hall
After all the music dies
On one cacophonous note

Going Home

I left the cemetery that April day
And drove to the old farmhouse
Where I’d grown up.

Dead leaves shattered
As I walked around the house
I hadn’t seen in twenty years
The tree branch that had held the rope swing,
The grassy space by the woods where I’d played…

Still there.

The trees, just beginning to show new leaves
Let more light reach the ground than under summer’s
Dense canopy of green
Broken beer bottles, left by hunters, I guessed, lent sparks of light
To the dried leaves that had piled up for years

Cold Wind

Many years ago, this day,
As lingering clouds
Brought out the morning rays,
I heard the east wind drown
In the sound of the ocean spray.
 
She came in nightly
On a foaming swell,
Lady floating lightly
On a seaborne shell.
 
“Oh bury me not
In the deep blue sea;
Oh bury me not
Where the cold wind flees.”
 
I carried her home
For miles and miles . . .
If only I’d known
It was just for a while.
 
The words unsaid, undone—
Gone before our time had run.
 

The Message of a Dead Rose

The rose you gave me, dear, is dead,
The hope which it begot
Is gone. An aching heart and head,
Is my unhappy lot.

Perhaps you could not fully know,
The danger of your smiles,
How often hearts are poisoned so,
By thoughtless maiden wiles.

I would not think so hard of heart
You thoughtfully could be;
To gratify a flirting art,
Such passion stirred in me.

Yet many a trusting heart has been
From honor made to rove,
In darksome ways and paths of sin,
By lightly feeding love.

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Two Sunsets

In the fair morning of his life,
When his pure heart lay in his breast,
Panting, with all that wild unrest
To plunge into the great world's strife

That fills young hearts with mad desire,
He saw a sunset. Red and gold
The burning billows surged and rolled,
And upward tossed their caps of fire.

He looked. And as he looked the sight
Sent from his soul through breast and brain
Such intense joy, it hurt like pain.
His heart seemed bursting with delight.

So near the Unknown seemed, so close


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Two Portraits

You say, as one who shapes a life,
That you will never be a wife,

And, laughing lightly, ask my aid
To paint your future as a maid.

This is the portrait; and I take
The softest colors for your sake:

The springtime of your soul is dead,
And forty years have bent your head;

The lines are firmer round your mouth,
But still its smile is like the South.

Your eyes, grown deeper, are not sad,
Yet never more than gravely glad;

And the old charm still lurks within


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