Kendra Preston Leonard


Listen to the audio version.

My mother is a poem by Yeats,
her mind widening into a sand-filled desert,
where only the smallest grains of memory
shift slowly in the sun.

She turns and turns and falls and falls,
her thoughts drowned in the newborn anarchy
that brings blood-dimmed shadows to her eyes.

Slouching, lacking all conviction
passionately intense,
indignant, vexed,
she is full of blankness, she is pitiless.

She cannot hear, she cannot see,
she sleeps too long.
She cannot hold her center; she is the turning falcon lost,
lost to the falconer.


Kendra Preston Leonard is a poet and librettist. Her work has appeared in vox poetica, lunch, Panoplyzine , and Upstart: Out of Sequence: The Sonnets Remixed, among other venues. Marie Curie Learns to Swim, a chamber opera with a libretto by Leonard and music by composer Jessica Rudman, was premiered by the Hartford Opera Theater in April 2018. Her current projects include lyrics for several song cycles and poetry inspired by medieval and early modern texts.