Detente: On Discovering a Spider This Morning
Small black spot on
our white bathroom floor tile.
Twist of hair? Speck of dirt?
No, spindly legs are moving.
I drop a clean tissue on it.
Suddenly the dot scurries
under our vanity’s
quarter round trim. Now
revealed is spots true self:
a small black spider.
Perhaps, you think
I have now befriended him.
No. Although I realize he
is likely not committed
to my extermination, and
that he likely eats dust mites
and other “awfuls”
who invade my home,
the answer is still N-O.
I am so allergic to spider bites
that should he strike out
even by accident, it is
the hospital or worse for me.
However, I am reluctant
to spray him into oblivion.
So, in our détente, I now
wear slippers into that room,
look carefully before
reaching into the under sink
dark corners, or the back of
our vanity’s drawers.
I promise not to strike out at him
as long as he promises the same.
Learning to Live Free--Swahili Lesson, 1967
The first Swahili word I learned
was uhuru. I heard our Kenyan hostess
is called UHURU now.
The word means Freedom.”
As the plane winging me
to Nairobi banked before
descending, I gasped at
the beauty of the image of steel
spires of skyscrapers rising
up from a green mass
of trees (this was before
the great droughts and just a few
years after Kenya’s independence).
The plane continued gliding
downward, and I determined
to try to stay on that street, Uhuru.
The rolling sound of uhuru
resonated with me--
at age nineteen,
traveling alone in Africa,
I also felt the exhilaration
of being free –in my case
from parents and professors.
I felt as one with this young Kenyan
capitol, a city that signalled its embrace of
freedom, by naming the
main street, Uhuru.
Later I learned to say,
“hello, goodbye, thank you”
in Swahili, but truly it is
for this one word, uhuru, that
I will always love Nairobi.
White Line on my Knee: a Reminder
Yesterday I Killed It
Yesterday, I drowned my friend, “Little Blue.”
It was an accident, I swear.
You can judge for yourself:
Not wanting to lug my phone
“synched” to my
health and calorie apps, I
purchased a sky-blue pedometer
which slid easily into pants/shirt pocket.
At night I manually added its step count
to my higher -tech phone calculations.
Unfortunately, yesterday while
scrambling to finish a dozen tasks at once,
I noticed a stain on my pants,
quickly stripped, sprayed the stain,
then tossed the pants into our washer
with the towels.
Minutes later, I realized “little blue”
was not in my pocket. By then
our washer was already
dutifully sloshing clothes and towels
in surges of hot water and soap.
Pressing pause I felt around, retrieved
my tiny blue, blinking, friend.
Poor little thing blinked and blinked:
7777, then 888
Alas, those 8s were the last numbers it spoke.
So, you see, it was an accident.
I truly do want to be more mindful
of my calories, of what I eat and do.
Now, some steps will remain uncounted
but thanks to my dearly departed
friend, I’m also now more mindful
of what I do, when and while doing it.
Thanks, and rest in peace, “little blue.”
Joan Leotta is a writer and story
performer. plays with words on page and stage. She performs tales of food,
family, strong women on stages across the country and in Europe. Internationally
published as an essayist, poet, short story writer, and novelist, she’s
a two-time Pushcart nominee, twice Best of the Net nominee, and a 2022
runner-up in Robert Frost Competition. Her essays, poems, CNF, and
fiction appear in Impspired, Lothlorien, Ekphrastic
Review, Verse Visual, Verse Virtual, Gargoyle, Silver Birch, Yellow Mama,
Mystery Tribune, Synkroniciti, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Pure Slush, and
others. Her poetry chapbooks are Languid Lusciousness with Lemon,
(Finishing Line) and Feathers on Stone, (Main Street
Author, Story Performer
“Encouraging words through Pen and Performance”
Twice Nominated for Pushcart and Best of
"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