Phyllis Capello




We stroll Greenwood cemetery, home of The Receiver of Many,

Then settle near a small lake, masked, and at the required distance,

We cannot touch, but the roots beneath us entwine and converse

About daffodils, Johnny Jump-ups, feathery leaves, like we do.


The Ferlenghetti Girls, three poets from Brooklyn

At our first meeting, reading poems from our cell phones,

Texting each other the stanzas first, because breezes carry voices off, 

(poet’s dilemma!) even before they’re received.


I’m lying down so spot the hawks first, look!

We tally them: two in the foreground above the lake, 

One so high it’s a tiny scrimshaw scratch against the blue.  

One hawk for each of us, Paola says! Picture us, poet-friends


Floating, silent, talons tucked, our white-tipped wings spread wide 

Guide each descending arc, black eyes keen on the land below;

Or, are we instead, three tiny mice awaiting the rush of fate? 

Quick, spread strong wings over your nests, poets, send, into today’s 


Dark winds words that speak of every being’s worth: petal, citizen, infant, 

Leaf, root, mouse and mark with stonecutter’s press, this plea:

That nestlings get their share of years to float without terror,

In dreamy spirals, over this garden of spring and death.


Phyllis Capello is a NYFA fellow in fiction, & a winner of an Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award. Her collection Packs Small Plays Big is from Bordighera Press, 2018.  Her poems appear in The Dream Book, From the Margin, The Milk of Almonds, Embroidered Stories, Ping PongThe Well & Often Press, &The New York Quarterly.  She’s a writer-in-residence with Community-Word Project, and has entertained children in hospitals since 1982, currently as a Red Nose Doc with Healthy Humor.