December 18, 2017 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION



Yvonne Higgins Leach




There Is Always The Moment When The Child Is Lost



I could hear the hum of my parents’ conversations

through my bedroom floor boards —


calm instructions as they prepared a meal,

occasional comment as they read in the same room,


and when deeper intonations

I went to the top of the stairwell.


We think we’re such a civilized society

but we’re not. It’s deplorable.


In the doorway I asked: What are you talking about?

The silence clotted thick with hesitation.


They wanted my nine-year-old life to remain pure:

sun-fed afternoons, hours with the dog


catching frogs by the lakeside,

painting rocks, building secret forts,


smacking on a Popsicle on the front porch steps,

and imagining new worlds in the ceiling of my bedroom.


I insisted. They explained

that our state of Alaska passed a bill


allowing bears and cubs and wolves and pups

to be killed in their dens. I remembered


one Saturday watching on TV a family of wolves

tucked safely in their den of hollow logs and tree roots,


a boulder overhead kept them cool.

And now in my mind a man slithers up


and shoots them, a thousand

dying whimpers, then blood and silence


against the dirt wall.

My father said:


Others are such cowards

they use airplanes to chase and kill wolves in packs.


Besieged by the low engine roar

and blast of gun fire


the wolves bolt across the mountainside

darting among trees that cannot save them.


In the hours and days that followed

I wandered our woods, uncorded


from the world. A trembling pressed

inside me like ancient handprints.


The shrill of a grief-song erupted

and has been sounding ever since.






Yvonne Higgins Leach

Yvonne Higgins Leach is the author of Another Autumn (WordTech Editions, 2014). Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies including The South Carolina Review, South Dakota Review, Spoon River Review and POEM. A native of Washington state, she earned a Master of Fine Arts from Eastern Washington University. She spent decades balancing a career in communications and public relations, raising a family, and pursuing her love of writing poetry. Now a full-time poet, she splits her time living on Vashon Island and in Spokane, Washington. For more information, visit www.yvonnehigginsleach.com

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