Joan Leotta

Joan Leotta

Joan Leotta is an author and Story Performer who lives in Calabash, North Carolina, likes to share encouraging words through Pen and Performance. She writes and tells about food, family, and strong women. She has been Nominated for Pushcart (twice) and Best of Net. Her latest chapbook is Feathers on Stone poetry chapbook available by contacting her on Facebook and at

Appetite for Mulberries

Our guide, Hassan, hurried us off the
Bus into the factory
to initiate our tour
“Turkish Silk Carpets
from Start to Finish.”
Hung on hallway walls,
photographs showed
tightly wound, doll-sized
tennis balls, resting on
mulberry leaves. Hassan
explained, “Those are
silkworm larvae cocoons.
They are happy to
stay and spin on their
favorite food,
mulberry leaves.”

In the next room
large photos
displayed their fate:
cocoons being dipped
into boiling water,
hands discarding those
boiled larvae once alive within,
slim fingers unraveling cocoons
into skeins of silk thread.
In the next room
behind glass windows
we observed real women
spinning, dying silk,
weaving threads into intricate designs.
At our last stop
towers of silk rugs
rose up from polished wood floors.
Salespeople circled like moths.
“Once only for the Pasha, now for you,”
Hassan whispered into his mic.
But all I could see was worms, larvae
whose last days were spent
feasting on their favored food
in ignorance of what was to come,
blinded to their fate by
their great appetite for mulberries.

Previously published at Bluepepper

For other contributions by Joan Leotta, please follow the link below:

Poetry in this post: © Joan Leotta
Published with the permission of Joan Leotta