The Killdeer’s Cry by Joan Leotta

The Killdeer’s Cry

My neighbor’s empty lot,
grown over with
wild grasses, dandelions, clover,
was a draw for butterflies
bees, for unseen creatures
until the mowers came.
After they left, I saw her,
frantically skittering in circles
where her nest must have been.
I watched, listened
to her keening as she searched.
Her voice pierced my heart,
for I recognized her sorrow.
She was mourning chicks
lost with the nest.
As a mother who has
also lost a child, I joined my
tears to her cries.


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 poetry chapbooks are Languid Lusciousness with Lemon and Feathers on Stone.