Stages of Grief by Joan Leotta

The first week

My world is spinning

“That’s nothing, the world always spins,”

“They” tell me.

Their world is fixed

on its axis, firm and sure

Mine has lost its axis,

whirling and twirling

out into space,

out of control.

Oblivious to all except my loss.


Three months after

I am quiet

Instead of chatty.


Not merely pensive

Often awake

Late into the night



After a year

Words begin

to make sense again

when I lay them out on paper.

I hung his stocking up at Christmas

and filled it with a letter.


One plus one

Makes 11.

Two years later, I


this joke between us,

we two who hated math.

It’s time to speak his name,

So he will not be forgotten.



Joan Leotta is a North Carolina writer and a performer. She has authored fiction and non-fiction books and countless articles.


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