Audio · My Mother · Poem · Poetry

I Sometimes Feel Her

I sometimes feel her pressing on my right side.

Why the right? She lingers there.

She leaves me pennies

That appear out of nowhere

When I’ve earned an angel wing.


I dreaded her birthday, the first

Since she left.

No cake or cards, no gifts.

Coming up… memories of her end of days.

That call.


Her body fighting her,

We watched.

We rallied for her,

Held her close,

Fed her,

Combed her hair.


Gregorian chants

Took her in and out of her life.

She spoke the language of angels.

How they argued,

Divine negotiation with intonation

And syllables.

Her voice wasn’t hers at all.

Is this how it goes?


And terror gripped her as she faced

The indescribable,

Pushing it away with such force,

We thought

This is it.

Debate and battle gave way more ultimately

To stillness and surrender.


Copyright © 2017 Barbara Harris Leonhard

Image: My Mother




Audio · My Mother · Poem · Poetry

How Did She Go?

How did she go?

The mystery.

This woman with no memories,

No way to find the path,

No way to recall a face,

No way to know she dreamed,

No way to know the face of Death.

How did she manage?


We held her close,

Go to the light. 

But did she?



Her last breaths like those of a guppy,

Out of the water too long. 

Did she know? 

Was Dad there?

The chakras still spun 

Until spent in the sand.

No wind.


My heart collapsed

In the knowing.

I was then a stranger, an orphan.

Her guide and now 

Not her guide.


In a dream, there she was,

Resting on a bed in an alcove,

The curtains draped on either side,

Her shoes placed gingerly under the bed.

I’m lost!

Where’s my wallet? 

The bill to be paid. 

Three shiny pennies lined up in a row.

Pick them up, she said.

I resisted

The bad luck.


It was 2:05p.m.

When they listened for her whispers

Trapped in her throat

For a different guide.


Copyright © 2017 Barbara Harris Leonhard

Image: My Mother

my sassy mom

Audio · My Mother · Poem · Poetry

Three Pennies

She was neither here nor there

In debate in another tongue

Tearing out the IVs

With savage, no more of this.


The soul does not just leave;

It wanders through the veil

And retreats,

From one home to another.

As though waiting for new sheets

Not yet pressed.

The vase of flowers,

Being arranged.


She was neither here nor there

Where are you, Mom?

You’re picking flowers and

Reaching for delicate things.

And placing them peacefully to rest

Next to you: These little treasures.


Do you see Dad?

No, why do you ask.

Do you see the light?



The soul does not just leave;

It wanders.

It leaves three shiny pennies

Lined in a perfect row

On hot pavement between two cars

For me to see,

Knowing that She would have picked up

Those little treasures.

But not I: She knew that I would resist

But understand the message.

Her final departure: The Third.


Copyright© 2017 Barbara Harris Leonhard


three pennies