about the author

Yvonne Higgins Leach is the author of Another Autumn (WordTech Editions, 2014). Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies including the South Carolina Review, South Dakota Review, Spoon River Review, and POEM. A native of Washington state, she earned a Master of Fine Arts from Eastern Washington University. She spent decades balancing a career in communications and public relations, raising a family, and pursuing her love of writing poetry. Now a full-time poet, she splits her time living on Vashon Island and in Spokane, Washington. For more information, visit yvonnehigginsleach.com.

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One Poem  

Yvonne Higgins Leach

Isabella O’Donoghue

From the airplane window, I see
them pull my mother’s casket
from the belly—not everyday luggage.

Do they notice its heaviness
in the solid wood, the ornate handles,
the gold-trim plating? I know

she would appreciate the extras,
but be most grateful to return
to her homeland: Scotland,

where words first rolled off her tongue,
she explored the heathered hillsides
and mysteries in books, and later married.

A long union of seasonal gardens,
sunset walks to the ridge, and a love
always widening their imaginations.

Heartbroken when her husband died,
she joined me in Canada
believing a connection

to her only child would be enough
when in fact after a year she went mad.
Indecipherable words,

empty-eyed stares,
middle-of-the-night wanderings.
On her deathbed in barely

a whisper, she begged her body
be buried in the permanence of her homeland.
Through the bolts of grief,

I broke our hands last embrace
and left the room
to make the arrangements.

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