Goddess at the River


by Phyllis Capello

                                           for S.


She tells me she’ll call after she goes to the river;

not to fetch water, like the veiled nymphs of old, but to muse 

on January winds, watch the current slide between two cities,

how skyscrapers face skyscrapers across the shimmer.


Winter walks in plague-time; dressed for cold; snap photos 

of the gulls: raucous gray/white repeat, voracious bills, 

cartoon feet, squawking above piers at any hint of crumbs;

while sunlit ferries crawl across the harbor.


In spring, she’ll pay her fare, sail east to the tip of land where surfers 

emerge from subway cars, paddle boards through 

wild surf, ride the crests of greenglass waves that sweep all the way to shore and wet her goddess toes with frothy-white perfection.





Phyllis Capello is  author of the poetry collection Packs Small Plays Big. She is a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow in fiction and winner of an Allen Ginsberg poetry award and her work appears in many anthologies. Phyllis performs in pediatric hospitals with Healthy Humor Inc., and teaches poetry for Community-Word Project.