Poems & Essays

21 Mar

Like a Penny

General/Column 5 Responses

We entered the room in parade formation,
our gait slow and rehearsed.
The silence of the ventilator momentarily paralyzes me.
Visible is the incubator, it sits empty.
The revelation removes the air from my body,
dissolving my bones. I am offered a metal chair.

Denial embeds itself firmly
within the farthest recesses of thought,
helping my mind move forward.
Various people collect around me,
but they arrive too late
to bar the door from dread.

Fear followed their path through the entrance,
pushing promise aside, disregarding
my pleas to stay at bay.
And, as if fear itself was
a relation, it settled in to observe me,
expecting me to turn and nod.

Reality moved into the sterile, hushed room next,
without invitation or welcome,
its heavy hand on my shoulder.
The last shards of hope strangled by its presence,
slowly building to suffocate me
with a clench that refused to loosen.

A loved one squeezed my hand but
only my heart felt the grip.
Nestled within my mind
I concealed a scream that was
suppressed by news
not yet broken.

And like a penny on the tracks
I lost my shape
as fear morphed into
despair and pushed inside the room.
Without a chance to inhale
the Doctor’s voice spilled into the air.

His gentle whisper
sliced my reality
with the words,
She is no longer
and like that penny,
I felt worthless.


Joanne Spencer is employed by The Review Review reviewing online and hard copy literary journals, Florida Newsline as a contributing journalist and for the St. Johns County Public Library System. In 2013, Joanne accomplished her goal of publishing her novel, The Letter Keeper, and has recently returned to college to learn the craft of writing educational grants.

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  1. Colette

    March 21, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    What a beautiful poem! We are so lucky to have such a talented and loving daughter, who is also a great mother. Love you, Mom & Dad

    • Joanne

      March 27, 2016 at 12:24 am

      Mom and Dad,
      You have brought me to tears for taking the time to write a response. Means the world to me! Love you both so much! I am honored to be your daughter, you have taught me so much! Love you both!

  2. Susan Goldstein

    March 23, 2016 at 3:31 am

    This is so well-crafted. Sad, poignant and impeccable imagery. I hope this is fiction …

    • Joanne

      March 27, 2016 at 12:26 am

      Thank you Susan for taking the time to comment on my poem. No one more than I wish this was fiction. Been a long time for me to see this poem published. I am grateful to everyone at MAW for giving me such a wonderful place to see these words shared.


1 Pingback

  1. Like a Penny | poetryroad

    February 3, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    […] Originally posted on March 21, 2016 at Mothers Always Write […]

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