Earthseed- A Free Verse Poem by Leona

Calming waters bring to mind

The changing seasons

Time to move

Time to harvest

Time to move

Time to rest

Replacing vowels and consonants

With singing melodies

To the future generations

As it were

Move to time

Harvest to move

Move to Time

Rest to Move

I painted with the birch tree

Sapling branches

Leaving memories and names

Of the way the world shifts

Between our feet

Time to move

Time to harvest

Time to move

Time to rest

Reaching down to cover the earth

With your body

Laying down prayers and whispers

Of ancient spells

For the tomorrow people

Will not have forgotten

our names


pra babcia – a Free Verse Poem by Leona

You ran across the ocean

Feet stepping on

Cresting waves

To arrive to another shore

They did not know you

They did not see you

You brought your hat,

Shoes, glass rosary

Praying to the Holy Mary

Clasping hands and smelling salts

They did not know you

They did not see you

Make way for the new faces

Washing sheets and sewing skirts

You found love on the stairway

Waving your hands in glee

They did not know you

They did not see you

You lived across the ocean

You never visited your homeland

Cresting waves

Falling times

I did not know you

I did not see you


This poem is inspired by my Polish great Grandmother. She immigrated to the US when she was just 20 and lived the rest of her life in this country. I love hearing about my great grandmother’s story and how she lived her life. I wish I could ask her about why she left and came to a country far away. Lots of questions, lots of wondering and trying to think about my own desire to leave my homeland and live far away.

Mirror Mirror – A Short Story by Leona #shortstory

Jamie lifted her hands from her pocket to adjust her ear plugs. She was listening to some of her favorites as she traveled on the train. The train was filled with daily computers and students. Everyone was trying to rest before their day began. Jamie noticed a girl from her class was loudly talking with her friends.  Smiling, waving and randomly touching the shoulder of the boy to her left. Jamie looked away and wished she didn’t see that. It always made her uncomfortable. 

“Next stop: Total station” The robotic voice of the train said. Jamie looked out the window and stared at the brick wall flying past. She flitted her eyes back and forth until it made her dizzy and slightly motion sick. She closed her eyes.

“Total station” the voice said. Jamie heard the train doors open. Her eyes opened. She looked out the window to watch the passengers get on and off the train. An older man held onto the morning’s newspaper and stomped on a cigarette before entering. Two school girls held hands and were imitating a pop star’s famous dance moves. They were giggling. Jamie noticed a girl slowly walking off the platform. She was wearing similar clothes to Jamie. Her school uniform and a green satchel bag swung by her waist. The girl turned and looked directly at Jamie. 

She gasped. It was her. Jamie blinked. A perfect reflection of Jamie’s face stared at her from the platform. Jamie blinked again but the girl did not disappear or move. They continued to maintain eye contact. Jamie’s mind raced. She was clearly seeing a version of herself. There she was standing on the platform. The girl raised her hand and waved. She mouthed the words “Good Luck” and started to turn away. 

Jamie jumped to her feet. She grabbed her bag and made for the train doors. The young girls were dancing in the space between the seats. The doors started to close.

“No!” Jamie shouted. She pushed through the school girls and tried to get through the doors. 

“Next stop: Everton Station ” the robotic lady said. Jamie’s hands hit the door. The doors had slid closed and latched just as Jamie bounded to them. She banged her hands and frantically searched through the small window. There on the platform she could see that version of herself walking away toward the exit stairs. Her green satchel still sung and bounced with each step. Jamie’s view started to change as the train moved away from the stop. Soon, she was staring at blackened brick walls that flew by at an unreasonable pace. It made Jamie feel sick. 

She turned. She blinked and started to sway. Jamie noticed the old man had unfolded the newspaper so that she could read the news headlines. It read “Girl discovers Irregularity in Time Warp”. Below the heading, there was a black and white picture of Jamie. Her face was bright and she was smiling sheepishly. Jamie’s knees buckled. This was the second time today in the matter of minutes she was seeing a duplicate of herself. Jamie gripped the seats for support and slid back to her seat. She lifted her hood over her head and kept her face toward the window. Whatever was happening, Jamie knew it wasn’t good.

Magnolia Blossoms – a Short Story by Leona

Maybe it was the way he always laughed. Or the open eyed smile that made my heart rush. I would blink thinking that he would disappear but there Abisani stood, tall and steady. 

Abisani arrived in March. Through the refugee office, he and his family were given a house next to my family home. His family came from Eritrea. He said they ran and ran until it led them to my small hometown in the US. Abisani arrived after my mother died. A cold dark November evening.

Maybe it was the way he waited for me to talk. Or the way his hand rested on my shoulder, never asking for me to be anything else.

I had dark days and long nights before Abisani and his family arrived. The sky seemed to change without me noticing. Day after day. My father said I should ask for help. I just didn’t care. My mother’s things still lined the bedroom and her books were still in the library. 

“Kayla, are you ready for our walk?” Abisani asked, breaking me from my thoughts. I noticed the cuff of his blue jacket was slightly upturned. 

I fixed it and said, “Yes, I want to see the blossoms.”

“You know it might be too early for them. Sometimes they don’t happen until later.” He took my hand and led me outside.

I had forgotten how wonderful the sunshine felt in the spring. My skin was cooled by the air and simultaneously warmed by the sun’s rays. I wanted to laugh, it felt so lovely. 

“You know,” I said to Abisani.  “I think there will be a blossom just from me.”

He squeezed my hand. “I hope so too.”

“My mom loved the spring flowers. She would-” my voice cracked. It was all too soon. Too fast and too slow. I wished that time would stop but then ramp up to lightning speed all at once. Then I wouldn’t have to remember. I could fast forward or pause. But the sun kept rising and setting at its pace. 

“What colors were her favorites?” Abisani asked.

“Purple.” I said, “She loved anything purple, lilacs, tulips, and irises”.

I remember the small flowers on her bed sheets. They were so small. And yet, that’s all I could remember. I stared at those flowers for hours unwilling to look my mother in the eye. I blinked.

“Oh! Here they are.” Abisani said. 

We had walked to the end of the block on our street. The trees that lined the way were still clinging to the buds unwilling to let us see their beauty. As we turned the corner, we saw the magnolia tree at the entrance to the park. Like a herald of good news, the tree stood with a few blossoms on the lower branches. Soft creamy petals with pinks and magentas. I didn’t mind that there were only a handful of flowers. They made me happy. 

“Let’s go over and see if they smell good.” I said marching toward the tree. Abisani filed next to me. He had a magical way of always matching my steps. He had a mysterious way of always knowing when to grab my hand. 

“You know my mother says petals bring good luck. I don’t think it’s true.” Abisani said. He started to reach out to one of the blossoms.

“Wait!” I said and grabbed his hand. It was slightly chilled in the April morning air. He looked at me and paused.

Maybe it was the way he always listened to me and intuitively knew what I was trying to say. Maybe it was his warm skin, deep brown eyes and slightly crooked smile.

“Close your eyes,” I said. I closed my eyes and hoped Abisani had followed me. 

“Now take a deep breath.” I said. I breathed in and tried to take in all the different smells. The cold spring air, slightly damp. The sweet smell of the magnolia blossom.  Honey almost. The sun flooded my eyes and I blinked them open.

Abisani was still standing, eyes closed taking it all in. 

Maybe it was the way Abisani understood loss. He has lost his homeland and I lost my mother. But we found each other. Maybe it was the way he didn’t let sadness consume him. He said that it washed him and washing was good for the soul. Maybe that was why we loved being close.

“Open your eyes,” I said. Abisani blinked and said nothing for we were content to watch the blossoms sway in the slight breeze.

The Antonym December Flash Fiction Contest Finalist- Halka Hata by Leona Cicone

I am excited to share a short story of mine that has been chosen as a finalist for a flash fiction contest!

Read the story here: https://www.theantonymmag.com/halka-hata-leona-cicone/

A side note, in the same week this story was accepted another was declined. It has given me a certain perspective on the perseverance of the artist. I share these pieces because I am proud of them but also because I hope you can feel inspired to create your own art and feel emboldened to share it with the world. You don’t need to be “the chosen one” to be creative. You don’t need to make money from your art to call yourself an artist/writer/poet/musician. Instead you can create and enjoy your craft for the sake that it’s wholly and solely yours.

If you would like to read the other finialists, look here: https://www.theantonymmag.com/the-antonym-december-flash-fiction-contest-announcement/

Time Together

My lips feel chapped against the grain of my multi-colored scarf. You had given it to me so long ago, I forgot if it was for my birthday or for Christmas. I muddle through the crowded street and pushed my way to our apartment.

Stamping my feet and shaking off the snow, I enter our warm home. Your cat sits on the chair in the corner and I say. 

“Hello Arnold”

I always wondered why you named your cat Arnold. It reminds me of that character from that one tv show we both watched as kids. I don’t remember the title any more. Was it really just called “Hey Arnold”?

I hang my coat in the coat closet where it belongs and pick up the mail that you left in the entryway. You never want to look at all the junk mail so you make me do it. For some reason, you always feel the necessity to open up every letter even when it is clearly just junk mail. I remember coming home once to find scattered papers everywhere with you sitting in the middle carefully reading a credit card promotion. It was this way with you sometimes. You would get so fixated as if you didn’t mind that you distracted yourself with something really tedious. I smile at the memory.

“Kerry?” I hear you call. “Is that you?”

“Hey babe” I say as I walk to the kitchen. I see you are by the stove cooking a delicious smelling dish. It always surprises me how much you like to cook. I mean, I love cooking but in my experience I hadn’t met someone who loved it more than me. Well, that is to say before I met you. You turn to face me and smile. 

“My sweet.” You say as you catch me in your arms. I am still surprised at being able to hug you so freely and being near you so often. I squeeze back and enjoy your warm embrace. My arms start to pull away but you tighten your grip. 

“Gotta catch’em all” you say in my ear. It’s so ridiculous I just laugh. My body is buzzing against your chest. We stand still for a few moments and I hear the hissing of water boiling on the stove.

“The pasta!” You suddenly pull away. I am still smiling.

“Can’t let the pasta boil over, Chef Tegan.” I peek around you to see the water has indeed started to boil over the pot. I grab a checkered towel from the counter and start to wipe around the pot.

“No no!”, You shoo me away. “Back, back. Milady does not need to assist the poor peasant boy in the kitchen.”

“But what if I want to help my farm boy?” I say, slightly pouting. 

Your eyes twinkle and you wink at me. I think it’s both charming and hilarious how you wink at me even when we are alone in the house. As if there is some ghost that might be listening and we need them not to catch our inside joke. 

“Ahh but even the farm boy must do as you wish and this morning you wished for delicious pasta primavera. I must continue for milady.” You say.

“Then I bid you A-Dieu” I say and turn to leave the kitchen. Picking up the mail, I put all of it in the trash and I grab a cup of water. I turn to leave.

“No parting kiss for your farm boy?” You say while stirring the pasta on the stove. You are so funny, it’s one of the many reasons we are in love.

“As you wish,” I lean into your expecting lips. “You are ridiculous and it’s everything I love about you” I whisper into your ear. As I pull back, I see the blush on your cheeks. It makes my heart jump. How you manage to make me feel so alive is still a mystery to me. But it’s a mystery I don’t mind never solving, as long as you are by my side.

Earth and Me

I sing again

It was the first morning of my 27th day

And I believed that I found

The fire

The soul

Can you relate to me the words

That fill my heart?

I dreamed in technicolor rays

The ancient smoke of tribes gone by

Where I pilfer their lands

Do I do justice to this earth

Her wavy arms extending

The ancestors prayed for peace and fair

Weather

I long to rest

East in the moments of the in between

And I remember the names

Of all those who have died

I sit

Tied to the chair

As I repeat the thousand and one

Mantras

To ease their weary souls

The drumming and calling

Becomes and echo in my chest

Reverberating through

Something

I don’t believe in

My body longs to

Sleep

Hands still need mud and bread

To feed the 

Earthly children

Voices of the past remind me

To live with truth in my eyes

And to sing until my

Lungs are gone

How the mother cared for us

In this world

How we need to protect her

How she died for us

It wasn’t an easy

Road

To remember your own 

Date of birth

As the form required

But I spit with 

Blue and red flaming tongues

Of fire to burn away

All the weariness

Of my soul

Wasn’t Afraid – A Free Verse Poem by Leona

I think that I dreamed of another world last night

It tasted like ice cream and yellow

Lights danced in greens and blues

I looked outside to see the sky was red

But I wasn’t afraid

This other land gave me shivers

And I felt hollow

Without you

The air I breathed didn’t hurt

Or give me a sickness in my lungs

I looked to find the seagulls lived

Rather on the treetops

But I wasn’t afraid

The One of Many Songs – A free Verse Poem by Leona

My makeup made my mouth

Pucker into a poised position

It was the ritual and the rhyme

That gave way to meaning 

And song

Repeating motions and movements

Alarm rings at seven

Moisturize my melting memories

Again and again

Singing songs of early morning sanctuary

My mouth moving minutely

With avid recollection

That I have been here before

Mirror, mirror made to marvel

How does your garden grow?

Brushing my hair and realizing that

It’s time to leave

I remember the light laughs of love

That were yesterday’s song

What once was, has been

And I return to the many songs

Time turning in a ticular triangle

For I have been here before