Yvonne Higgins Leach


That moment when my daughter has a woman’s body,
when my mother can’t open a pickle jar,
when my brother moves from manic to calm.

Over seasons, and often quietly,
when I’m not paying attention,
suddenly I am left widened by time.

When that thorn of a bad decision
disappears, and from purgatory I rise
into soft powdery light.

I cannot remember the molting—
that awkward, clumsy uncertainty.
I wake with new pinfeathers.

Let the faithful beast of change
keep breathing. It’s after wildfires
when the flowers come.




The way it hits hard
and unexpectedly. Like being sidelined
while taking an innocent turn.
Splicing days into appointments, workouts,
and social engagements, always
throttling forward, refining the sculpture
of life, chiseling away the extra matter,
the defects, much like with memories.

How rarely I look back.
Where once we were grafted—
a bud and stock—
our worlds now separate trees
in forests far from one another.

Often it happens on a walk
in a carved-out morning of heaven-sent calm
among a canvas of maple and pine,
in light that opens space.

Suddenly goaded
by remembrances:
you mapping my body,
you holding our daughter for the first time,
mowing the lawn at dusk,
your eyes.

All the green of grass and moss
and the blue-tossed sky
can’t shake off the losses.

Banishing the lock of the past,
I exhale, and tread the roping path
toward home.



Yvonne Higgins Leach’s collection of poems, Another Autumn, was published in 2014 by Cherry Grove Collections. Her work has appeared in Cimarron Review, decomP Magazine, Hawaii Pacific Review, The MacGuffin, Midwest Quarterly, Penumbra, Pink Panther Magazine, South Carolina Review, South Dakota Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Virginia Normal, Wisconsin Review, and Whitefish Review, among others. She earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Poetry from Eastern Washington University. Her second book of poems will be published by Kelsay Books in early 2024.