Late to the party: a recollection of things that could have been – a #freeverse #poem by Leona

1

You were an angel

Golden locks running along

The nape of your neck

Faraway we shared

Something

And I wondered why

I never let you

Say hello

2

Fingers crossed behind my back

Wishing that the rose petals

We’re for me

Not my friend

Two rings and vows

To dream of my own

Sort of 

Loving embrace

If I only could imagine

3

That sunday in the year

Long forgotten

I met you at a cafe

To drink and be merry

Eat and be in love

Finding out what 

Was between us

I never left you with a kiss

4

The folded sheets against my skin

Hands softly touching the 

Edge of my

Lips

And I dream of the moments

My lover held

Me tightly

Gasping my name

5

Calling names and

Writing thank you cards

With an empathy that 

Reminds me of the 

Days when

Summer lasted longer

Than spring

6

A cold winter morning

You said it smells like snow

Laughing

And I stood far off

Wondering what it was like

To be 

All together and never alone

She wore a red colored sweater and

Leaned in

7

Facing days spent on earth

With a newness

I had thought was lost 

To the wind

But I am still here

Sleeping among the stars

As the noon day sun rushes

In to sear away my 

Clinging memories

Time Moves – a #freeverse #poem by Leona

For time moves

Swiftly my dear

So fast all at once

We are in a tilt-a-whirl

My dear as the age

Old rhymes barely

Keep up with the beat

+++

I tried carefully to find

New pathways across

Old sodden fields of

Corn and barley

+++

Can you just pause a moment?

Drifting toward an empty sky

I find your eyes keep

Looking my way

Back again

+++

The clock chimes in the hallway

Down the stairs under the

First floor balcony

It depends on if the butler 

Has wound the

Clock to quarter past 10

+++

Will you be my valentine?

Have we parted as more than

Friends?

East and West of Here – #freeverse #poetry by Leona

Night rings in frightful tones

Of lovers lost to time

Where dandelions and peonies

Sway to remember

Some forgotten song

East of here; New York station

To collide into picturesque postcards

Of lovers about to kiss

The dreamy melting memories

Of our shared banana split

Left my mouth wanting

Lips tasting the odd artificial 

Strawberry flavor

Fingers sticky from the spoon

We shared

West of here; Brooklynn station

And farther away than

I remember

Running from the scent of

Ancient and decrepit rhymes

Only to toss a farthing

To the lonely woman

Sitting on the doorstep of

My apartment

East of here; Manhattan station

Jumping on lily pads of

Dark and undulating spaces

To arrive at your front door

Darling, you murmur against

My neck, smelling the incense

Burned from my prayers that

Morning

We dance to drums created from

The skylarks that leap to and 

Fro from the wooden stoops

Between windows of this

Tightly knit city

How it was to be loved

And remembered. 

Do you remember my name? I ask

West of here; Queens station

At 7:30 every Tuesday evening

The crippled man from upstairs

Blares the old tunes from

Before the war to

Forget the times that 

Came after

Ripping through seams of life and the

Fabric of our loved ones

Eyes. I always

Drank a glass of whatever

Was available and 

Gave a toast to the 

Only God I knew

Praying that somehow

Meaning would fall upon

My lap and grace me

From above

East of here; some type of station

And I’ll wait for the train to arrive.

Honey wine- a #freeverse #poem by Leona

Conversations are like free

Butter and bread

Spreading honey over

Too thick and

Delicious to taste

I love to laugh at

Your terrible jokes

And how the government

Will fail us all in 2 

Years or so

I love to see you squint your eyes and 

Curl your lips as you try

To remember the name of

The capital of Kyrzakhstan

+++

Laughing fits are like freshly

Baked cookies warm

From the oven, sweet

Chocolate melting on 

My lips and my

Mouth waters in anticipation

I love to hear your 

Grand tales of adventure

From your youth

And how you slew

Dragons in your time

I love to feel your breath

On my

Cheek as you 

Try to think of something 

Clever to say as 

The sun sets in our

Eyes

+++

Chance has made our

Meetings sweeter than

Honey wine on a summer

Evening

And I do so wonder 

Why such a 

Gift has been granted

To a lonely traveler 

Like me

I smile as you take

My hand and lead me

To the fires edge

All the while trying 

To guess my favorite

Color in spring

Confessions of a working woman. – #memoir #writing by Leona

It feels a lot longer than just a month since I’ve written. Days feel like months and weeks like years. Maybe if I die tomorrow they will become that. I have been holding back my writing because I am afraid. Always afraid. It’s a running theme with me. 

On a bright Tuesday morning, I sang a few songs as I drove into work. As I arrived I wondered if today would feel any different than the day before. Will I have an epiphany to leave it all behind and start a new life somewhere else? 

At this point in my life, I see all the strings that I have left about and how they weave in and out of people, places and things. The longer I stay, the more these strings tangle and stretch making it hard to leave and cut loose. I see how I have weaved these small threads around to where I am now and it seems hard to go. 

At work, the fluorescent light above me in the lunchroom flickers and makes reading almost impossible. I put down my book and decided to start small talk with my coworker. We talk about our favorite holidays and types of candy. I wonder if you can see on my face that I cried in the bathroom 2 hours earlier.

The stall is dark and smells too strongly of air freshener. The air freshener comes in blue pods that look like marbles and are sticky to touch. My hand covers my mouth as I stifle a small cry. The tears are hot against my cheeks. I know why I am sad and crying. It should help to let it all out but I feel even worse as I sit on the beige toilet and try to collect myself. 27 years old and I am crying on the toilet in my work bathroom. Maybe it’s a new low, maybe it’s a weird new high. I can only hope.

“I think we are going to need more yellow toner,” my coworker remarks from across the office. I stop listening to the music in my earbud and wonder if she wants me to respond.

“We are going to need more yellow toner?” I ask recreating each word back to make sure I heard her correctly. It’s something I do a lot; I double-check that people are telling me the things they wanted to say. I find that many people ask questions without formulating them as full thoughts before beginning their sentence. It makes it difficult to follow conversations.

I remember thinking that I must have missed something. I missed hidden words that others knew but I didn’t. It drove me crazy that other people seemed to be able to pick up this language with little to no problem. Even now, as an adult, I sometimes find myself asking lots of clarifying questions. People can assume I am dumb or not listening but its because many people don’t speak their minds. They jump to conclusions and half sentences. Statements with words hanging off. It’s not a bad thing but can become problematic as then I am left with interpretation from my own brain.

My dog runs up to me as I enter the house. He jumps up and tries to nip my fingers playfully. His energy becomes my own as I lean down to pet him. The soft fur and wriggling body are funny to me. I laugh. Somewhere in the apartment, I hear a soft meow from my sister’s cat. It seems like the world has risen and fallen since my morning cup of coffee.

Truly, Truly – a #freeverse #poem by Leona

Prayers my heart starts to

mumble as the dew

forms graceful drops

across the eyelashes

of the late summer trees

It sprang to mind the hopeful

and expectant posture of

a bride in waiting

calling

oil filled lanterns

how we see the changing times

only to be reminded that

in life there is death

in love there is loss

truly truly say to you

the barren garden will

blossom as the noon day

sun

creeps along the ground

there in the slanting rays

it is easy to remember that

goodness and favor

does come to those

who wait as the tides

change and the earth

shifts

Have I finally found my home?

Tale of Two Stars – #shortstory #writing by Leona

The blackness of the sky never bothered me before. I always found it enchanting and reminiscent of my mother’s eyes. It sparkled with small stars and galaxies too far to count the distance. Our routine was to spend evenings outside and guide the stars to their rightful place. She would name each one and beckon them from their day slumber. I asked my mother why she did this each evening. It was a task ordained by the gods, she would respond. Nothing more.

The deep night sky filled my waking hours more than I realized. I never knew about the daytime world. I didn’t want to know.

People in the village would leave my mother gifts of fruit and cassava on our doorstep. My mother never let me talk to these strangers even though I would watch them from small crack on our door. Each time they would rest their gifts at the base of the door they would say “Prada Bitarva”. When I spoke those words to my mother, she said that was the name the villagers gave her. I asked about her real name but she told me to call her mama.

As night turned into day, I started to wonder about the villagers and the world of the day. But as my curiosity grew, mama increased my tasks during the evening. She asked me to name the stars along with her and learn the movements that went along with the names. We danced and talked together that I did not mind not seeing the day or more of the villagers.

One day I told my mama that I wanted a friend. She smiled and tapped her nose. I know just the friend you need, she said. Two days later she brought me a small basket covered with a green cloth. I opened the gift to find a small monkey curled inside sleeping. His eyes were shut and his little fingers were curled around part of the green blanket. I squealed with joy at the sight of my new friend. I named him Bravo and told my mother that he would be my best friend. Bravo squirmed in the basket and blink his eyes open. Dark black filled his eyes and I could see my face reflected back to me. His armes reached toward me and I culled him close to my chest.

Treat him well, my mother said. His destiny is tied to yours.

Rain Dance – #flashfiction #scifi #shortstory by Leona

Last year after fall, it rained for 14 years straight. In my town on the coast of the Lake Eerie, we had to build sand piles to keep the waters from rushing in. Rain boots became the norm as we all tried to go about our everyday lives.

Water is a relentless element. It seeps. It soaks. It keeps falling and pounding till the other material gives way. My friend’s father said he had never seen this much rain in his entire life. He said that back in his day, he and his friends would perform a rain dance every Tuesday to call down the floods from the skies. Finally those dances worked, he would say. My friend and I would sit with him each Tuesday to drink coffee. I wondered if we were performing our own ceremonial rain dance with the rhythms of our visits.

When the rain started, everyone cried tears of joys. Our land hadn’t seen a full hour of rain in over 12 years. People danced in the streets and stopped what they were doing. My mom called me 4 times trying to get me to come home from work to celebrate. It was a day for celebration, she said. Nothing else.

My friend and I like to remember that day as “Rain Day”. Even though now it rains every day, we think its funny to keep the name. Together we’ve found ways to enjoy the sloshing wetness that now permeates our world. We always remark that the old people complained so long about the dry season you’d think the rain would be celebrated each morning. But by the first full week of rain, people were already using phrases like “wish it would stop”, “I hate being soaked”, “Enough is enough”.

We crave change until the changes start to overtake our past normalcy. Everyday I have to take 10 minutes to put on my rain gear. I decided to go all out and buy the best rain slicker, boots and gloves you can get. They are off brand obviously. I meet my friend on the corner of the street to head into work. We both are postmen.

My friend remarks to me that today feels lighter. There is less rain falling down. I wonder if someone is doing a sun dance, I remark. It highly probable my friend says. Do you remember what the sun looks like? I ask. Genuinely, I am inquiring as my own memory of a sunny day has drifted from me. Nah, my friend says, I can only remember rainy skies. I was just a baby when the whole rain thing started. You were older. I nod my head in agreement and try to picture the sun.

Rays of light slanting through the window softly graze my face. I turn and feel the sun’s warmth move to my neck. Are you awake? My little brother asks in the bed next to mine. I open my eyes to see only yellow light. I blink away tears and rub my face. Yes I am awake. I say to my brother. He is sitting up in his bed with ruffled hair and squished pajamas. Want some breakfast? I ask.

The rain slides down my cheeks as I stare up at the sky. I’ve stopped walking and I let the rain hit my face. Tears are mixed with the light drops. I haven’t thought about my little brother in years. Time has made these memories sweet rather than sour. I wonder if my brother could feel the rain now.

Hey, my friend says, you coming? I look at the sky a bit longer and open my mouth to try and taste the rain. It isn’t sweet or salty just slightly damp. Then I make my way toward my friend, we match pace as the rain rhythmically plops on our backs.

A quiet afternoon at the beach – #shortstory #flashfiction #writing by Leona

When I was younger, I though that the hair on my grandfather’s chin was part of his personality. He had a white and black beard that started on his cheeks and went down to his neck. From my point of view, it never began or ended but just was. He was a man with bravado and a deep laugh. When he would chuckle, his beard would move and lengthen along with his smile.

I asked him once if his beard could be removed like a baseball hat. Was it an item of clothing you put on each morning? He smiled down at me with his kind eyes and chuckled some more. My grandfather was always laughing. Maybe the years spent on the battlefields in foreign countries made him see the funny side of life.

After the funeral in December of 2014, I remember seeing a rainbow in the sky above the hearse as we drove along. My mom said it was God’s promise and I wondered if God had a beard. With my grandfather’s passing, a large well in my heart had started to form. Not a hole but a deep impression that left one wanting and gasping for breath. I touched my cheeks and felt down my neck thinking of my grandfather’s beard. White and black and the way he always pulled at the hairs when he had a deep thought.

“You might think that the sun only shines without the clouds” Grandpa said looking toward the ocean. “But in fact, it can be sunny in any kind of weather. It’s just your perception of where the sun lands” He looked down at me on his lap and patted my head. I was quiet for his words had started to wash over me and sink in. “You love the sun?” I asked. Grandpa nodded his head; his great beard shaking with every beat.

“Come rain or shine, its the fact that the sun rises every day which gives me strength to laugh at morning and be thankful for shade by the evening. Trust me,” he paused and gazed out at the crashing waves. The sound was muffled and comforting. “In time you’ll understand that the sunny days come everyday.” He looked down at me and laughed.