Telling the Bees & Other Poems by Joan Leotta

To What We Lost – Joan Leotta

Joan Leotta bravely writes about the unfathomable loss of losing children and a mother. Her heart shines through these incredible words of love.

Telling the Bees
By Joan Leotta

First published in Writing in a Woman’s Voice, July 2019

Dear little creatures,
as I look out the window today
I send these thoughts to you—
may you be blessed on this, his day.
I have no hive to shroud
in mourning cloth so
I pour honey on my toast,
libation to our connection.
Take my love to him, my sweet boy.
On the day he was born,
this day, 37 years ago, I could not
taste honey—no food allowed before the birth—
yet I tasted of his sweetness when
I kissed his soft baby cheek
as they placed him on me
newly taken from my womb.
Now, he rests, and I know you visit
his place, feasting on the clover
flowers sprouting up among the green
where he was laid, near 20 years ago.
Some people think that grief has a timeline
ending, they want no talk
of tears, time when he walked among the bees.
So, I greet you, dear ones,
honey sweet as he,
dear to me,
take the touch of my lips to him,
remind him that a mother’s love
is forever.

Bottle Cap
By Joan Leotta

This one was first Published by Snapdragon 2017 and deals with the loss of our son—selling his car and finding something that has become a cherished momento

We finally sold our
green and silver
Chevy Blazer,
our son’s chariot of choice.
Together they galumped
over potholes, blared his music
screeched into parking lots;
arrived “just in time”
for his summer job.
At least once a week
in the days after he died,
I peered into the now
silent car, the
detritus of his last drives—
burger and candy
wrappers, notes, ticket stubs,
testifying to his former presence.
At last we decided to sell.
A shopvac would separate
our son’s spirit, or at
least his trash
from his metal steed.
Whirr of the machine
cleared crumbs from
flooring and seats.
I held it above the wrapper-filled
cup holder and something
began to rattle
as the hose tried pull it out.
I snatched at the offending
metal—a cap from Hanks,
a premium root beer.
“Nothing like the tang of sassafras and
sugar, ” Joe once told me.
Squeezing the cap’s
crimped metal edges
tightly in my palm, I
dropped the cap into my Buick
sedan’s cup holder where his
Hanks bottle cap now spins
and rattles–
Joe rides with me.

What I Found When I Lost My Earring
By Joan Leotta

First published on Silver Birch, 2017

Settling into my window seat
after running to catch my connection,
at Atlanta-Hartsfield,
I reached up remove my earrings.
Left ear’s shiny metal clip-on daisy
easily slid into my hand.
Reaching for its twin, however
my fingers found a bare lobe.
Immediately I realized the
probable moment of loss–
when I hastily slung the
wide-strapped bag at my feet,
hard over my shoulder as
I ran for that connecting gate.
Likely the strap brushed my
floral clip-on off
away from the garden of my ear.
I fretted over the loss on the flight,
upset in disproportion to that
daisy’s dollar cost.
While at my destination.
a recurring dream roiled
my sleep, bringing up a memory
—how, against advice
I had foolishly worn and lost,
my mom’s aquamarine ring,
that her father had made for
her upon her graduation.
In the dream, once again
she said it was “all right.”
But I could still see
and sense her sadness
in across the plain of death in my dream.
Was this why I now mourned
loss of a shiny metal clip-on, a
thrift shop bauble bought for a dollar?
Determined to find redemption at
Least from this loss, on my way home
I stopped at the Delta Lost and Found.
I described my lost item
to the blue uniformed- woman.
She checked her list .
“No , no one turned it in.”
I sighed and said.
“Guess I should know
better than to wear something I like
when traveling.”
She reached over the counter,
clasped my hand.
“Remember this,
things are just things
If you like something wear it;
enjoy it while you have it.
Do not blame yourself
for what you cannot control.
Things are made to be used.”
That very night
I dreamt again of my mother.
She was smiling at me. On her right hand
She wore her aquamarine ring.
In her left, she held my lost daisy clip-on.


Joan Leotta
Author, Story Performer
“Encouraging words through Pen and Performance”
Giulia Goes to War, Letters from Korea, A Bowl of Rice, Secrets of the Heart.historical fiction in Legacy of Honor Series
Simply a Smile--collection of Short Stories
WHOOSH! book from THEAQ You can download a mini-chapbook of my poems at

Find out more about my work at 

and Facebook: