Feathers on Stone / Joan Leotta


Feathers on Stone

poems by

Joan Leotta

ISBN: 978-1-59948-43-8, 56 pages, $14 (+ shipping)

Release Date: November 22, 2022

The Advance Sale Discount on this title has expired. For those who prefer to pay by check, the price is $18/book (which includes shipping) and should be sent to: Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001. 


Joan Leotta plays with words on page and stage. In addition to her ten published books, her varied writings have appeared or are forthcoming, in Ekphrastic Review, Pinesong, Brass Bell, Verse Visual, anti-heroin chic, Silver Birch, Ovunquesiamo, Verse Virtual, Poetry in Plain Sight, and others. She is a 2021 Pushcart nominee and  received Best of Micro Fiction in 2021. In early 2022, she was named a runner up in the Frost Foundation Poetry Competition. She has a previous chapbook, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon (Finishing Line Press, 2021). She is a member of the North Carolina Poetry Society, a member and area representative for North Carolina Writers Network and on the stage side of her work, member of, and as the coastal area representative for NC’s Tar Heel Tellers. Joan performs tales featuring food, family, nature, and strong women as a traditional teller and as several costumed characters. 


In Feathers on Stone, Joan Leotta has packed “a suitcase full of ordinary moments.” There are sensual descriptions of simple pleasures (carrot curry, late night bowls of ice cream with a beloved parent watching the stars), family stories, as well as larger lessons learned on the journey. A sense of wonder permeates Leotta’s poetry and serves as a guide for those of us seeking to “quiet the discord of a too busy world.” ~Betsy Mars, author of Alinea, co-author of In the Muddle of the Night (with Alan Walowitz), Assistant Editor at Gyroscope Review


Joan Leotta’s Features on Stone is a love letter to nature. You begin to see yourself in nature and nature in you. This is what fine poetry does – it elevates language and blends your world into that which is outside of you. The way Leotta’s lines and images dance like rain on the page, you begin to see your experiences as beautiful and complex as the moon and the sun’s and everything else in between. ~Jacinta V. White, Publisher, Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing, Author, Resurrecting the Bones: Born from a Journey through African American Churches & Cemeteries in the Rural South


Joan Leotta’s Feathers on Stone begins alongside Anais Nin. Joan seamlessly finishes an Anais mystical notion. Anais — “We write to taste life twice.” Joan — “Even those moments that leave a salty taste of tears…” Feathers on Stone reveals Joan’s relationship with nature, the glory of sustenance, and riches encountered in a life not just seen but lived. “We write to taste life twice, even those moments that leave a salty taste of tears…” ~John L. Stanizzi




Ambling about in mid-morning quiet
between two rows of loblolly pine,
my meandering reverie is broken by
a flash of feathers—
white, black, capped with crimson.
He darts by closely—
my cheek’s
warmed by his passing wing.

Now, roused from reverie,
my eye follows his flight.
Only his red feathers show.
Tat, tat, tat—he’s at work
finding brunch in the bark.

I return to my well-worn path,
refreshed, invigorated by the flash of
woodpecker’s beauty, grateful
for a close connection with an other,
for a moment of being ruffled.



Feathers on Stone


My words fall like
feathers, gliding on
breezes, to rest
on your stone
Your words
pelt me, first
as pebbles
then as rocks.
They come in torrents,
solid rain of ranting
shouts that crush
the fine velvet of
my soft heart.
My words and I
retreat, nestle
in a sheltered
I hear the hammer
of you stomping
toward us.
You rush around to face me,
a tear, my tear, falls.
You see it.
Suddenly, your words soften.
“I didn’t mean to shout.”
“Were you listening when
I whispered?” I ask.
He, abashed—“I did not hear
But with his answer, I note,
he too is now whispering.
My feather has found an
open place within his
rock of being.
We kiss and no more words
are needed.



Bottle Cap


We finally sold our
green and silver
Chevy Blazer,
our son’s chariot of choice.
Together they galumphed
over potholes, blared his music
screeched into parking lots.
arrived “just in time”
for his summer job.
At least once a week
in the time after he died,
I peered into the now
silent car, surveying the
detritus of his last drives—
burger and candy
wrappers, notes, ticket stubs,
all that testified 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.


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