Tuesday 6 June 2023

One Poem by Joan Leotta


Reading Neruda on War While Waiting in the Doctor’s Office


Probability of my leaving the office covered in blood is nil—

well, never really nil in the world today with

assault rifles poking around every corner waiting

to turn everyday errands into bloodbaths of revenge

or just pure evil.

Again  last night bombs shattered sleep for

an apartment full of Ukrainians, leaving children with dreams

of rifles and bombs as when Neruda wrote of Civil War in Spain.


Does it matter who we or those children shelter from?

While I wait for surgery to be scheduled

wait with a congenital condition that like magic

transforms a mundane procedure.

into a high-risk adventure, time to fret and trust,

I am thankful that I have a competent surgeon.

who understands, is confident he can successfully

help me to see more clearly.


As I note potential dates for the scalpel to scrape my eye

I see all too clearly the possibilities, but know

if there is a horrible accident, it will

be only a horrible accident that

no one wanted to harm me.

I will still have my inner vision intact,

no matter what the surgeon’s skill.

If the worst happens I will be

spared parades of dead children

across pages, across tv screens.


Yes, the probability of exiting her or there covered in blood is almost nil.

My process will likely be peaceful if nothing else.

I wish peace, even the peace of suffering everyday

ills and cures for all the children of the world, for all the people.

As I wait with my still-seeing eyes, I look

first upward, to the office television, then downward

to my Neruda, and at last, inward to the sight that

cannot be taken, and I ask blessings on

all touched by sorrow, by danger, by war, by unknown outcomes.

I wish hope and love and peace for all of us.

Joan Leotta plays with words on page and stage. She performs tales of food, family, strong women. Internationally published as an essayist, poet, short story writer, and novelist,  she’s a 2021 and  2022 Pushcart nominee, Best of the Net 2022 nominee, and  2022 runner-up in Robert Frost Competition. Her essays, poems, and fiction appear in Ekphrastic Review, Verse Visual, Verse Virtual, anti-heroin chic, Gargoyle, Active Muse, Silver Birch, Yellow Mama, Mystery Tribune, Ovunquesiamo, MacQueen’s Quinterly and others. Her chapbooks are Languid Lusciousness with Lemon and  Feathers on Stone.

Joan Leotta
Author, Story Performer
“Encouraging words through Pen and Performance”

Nominated for Pushcart and Best of Net in 2022

"Feathers on Stone" poetry chapbook available from me and at


Other Joan Leotta Books

Languid Lusciousness with Lemon, Finishing Line Press (Amazon)

Morning by Morning and Dancing Under the Moon, two free mini-chapbooks are at https://www.origamipoems.com/poets/257-joan-leotta 

For information on my four out of print novels, collection of short stories and four children's  picture books, contact me at this email 

1 comment:

  1. Hope for a successful surgery for you... and peace and sweet dreams for children everywhere. Beautiful poem.


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