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Rounding the curve of the path
while morning mist still shrouded
sun’s struggle to awaken
I picked out the pine-fed campfire smoke
from among other aromas
guiding my return—coffee—bacon.

Above me, birds chirped,
hopped from nest to branch.
In my last moments of solitude,
before rounding the rocks
encircling the campsite,
a morning breeze sneaked
from behind a loblolly pine
loosening a pinecone that
dropped into my open palm.

I stopped and as my fingers
pursue pinecone’s prickly edges
an owl’s barking laughter
turned my attention to the trees.
Partially hidden among pine needles,
resting form his nighttime hunt,
owl looked down at me,
laughing, perhaps, because he knows I
will work in the coming heat of day
while he, smart fellow, has reigned
supreme in night’s cooler clime.
I raise the pinecone to salute him.
He blinks the regal, staid response
of one who knows he has
held the night in his talons.

Joan Leotta plays with words on page and stage. Her poems have appeared in many journals including Vita Brevis, The Ekphrastic Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, BeZine, North Carolina Literary Review, Hobart Journal, Verse Virtual, Visual Verse, When Women Write, and others. Her short fiction, articles, and essays are also widely published. On stage, she presents tales of food, family, and strong women. Languid Lusciousness with Lemon, her first chapbook, is out from Finishing Line Press.

© 2020, Joan Leotta

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