He’s chosen darkness again
……..nothing has prepared me

not even my Weltschmertz-lined cradle
……..no preparation for the downturn of fate

glowing coals in the left ventricle
……..nurtured by the cock’s crow

his dark black sting of sorrow
……..innocence was chocolate

easy to swallow
……..nothing prepares one for darkness

not even darkness
……..not even lullabies

not when sung by a vulture
……..masquerading as a morning dove.

I swallowed the fragment of an insane rooster
……..my son no ordinary bird.


Rituals of Birth and Death

Arise with the possibility
of gliding over bones of sorrow.

Persevere. Connecting dots leads to
recognition / three-dimensional octagons.

Lethal berries from a forest of odds
mix with the sweet yellow of hope.


Phyllis Strock is a chaplain in a Philadelphia children’s hospital, and passionate about the role of music in the healing process. She teaches deep listening, chanting, and the use of Tibetan bowls as prayer and relaxation. There is a song in her soul that finds wings through writing poetry. She has studied memoir and poetry with Kathleen Bonnano and Amy Small-Mckinney.