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Tea Leaves: a memoir of mothers and daughters by Janet Mason (Bella Books April 2012) is now available -- click here for more info

“There is something here for everyone who has ever loved someone else or plans to. I highly recommend “Tea Leaves” just because it is so real and so beautifully written.”–Reviews by Amos Lassen

check out Janet Mason's author blog

read Janet Mason's latest piece in The Huffington Post --Chick-fil-A: What Would Gandhi Do If He Were Gay? ('s) featured writer:
Rosemary Cappello -- poet and artist

more poems by Rosemary


AUGUST, 2007

In the bedroom, yellow daisies on the dresser
reflecting Mary's smiling face, bright spirit.

In the garden, we three harmoniously singing
Happy Birthday on the phone to Jeannie's brother.
At the song's end, no silence, for a fourth voice
has joined in loudly, vigorously - Leo, the neighbor's
cat, with his Siamese meows.

Sitting in the garden over brunch of a Sunday,
Stephen, Carolyn, Mary, Jeannie, and me,
a vase of yellow and auburn calla lilies,
home-baked biscotti, the August day as
zesty as autumn coffee.

Malaga, Lucy, Orianne, Mary, Jeannie, and me
in the garden as Malaga's large black French poodle,
Hudson with the kind and handsome face,
frolics to and fro, gracefully running among
petunias and lavender, caladium and mint.
Do I favor him because he is not like the mean
poodles I've met, or because he is named Hudson,
and reminds me of the river on a blessed day?

They're straining at the leash, Chester and
Aubrey, one black, one blonde, the blonde,
a beauty of enviable locks. I don't know which
is which, they run so fast, with Karen at a marching-
majorette-running pace to keep up with them.
The black one startles me when I look the other way by
jumping on me, licking me in a friendly doggie kiss. I don't
ask for another.

The banquet Karen cooked, table overflowing with
chicken parmigiana, salad of many vegetables with tasty
dressing, home baked foccaccia, carrot cake
made from scratch, all accompanied by white wine,
red wine, a tuo piacere. We eat with gusto,
Karen, Russell, Caeli, Steve, Mary, Jeannie, and me,
exclaiming over the tasty and abundant food, laughing over
Mary's hospital experiences (the funny ones), and other topics
that include films, family stories, awkward moments,
a tuo piacere, ending with sips from delicate glasses
of topaz tuaca.

Here are several of Bug, the calico of beautiful colors,
orange, brown, whitest of white. Avoiding her dish
of healthful cat food after a cursory sniff.
Jumping to the table, attracted by our sushi dinner.
Rebuffed, back at her dish, she waits, hoping for a treat.

More of Bug, looking from me to Mary, Mary to me,
intrigued at our similarity of looks and voice,
perhaps wondering what is what but more certainly
knowing more than anyone can imagine.

In the shade of the pear tree, Mary and me, planting
Stephen's gift of pink patiens.

In full sun, trimming the honeysuckle which was blighted
but is coming back.









































































Every birthday, my mother would give me $5.00. That was her stock birthday gift to all her children.
The years went by, and one day I said,"Mother, the cost of living has gone up, but you still give us only $5."

She made no comment, just kept on giving the $5 birthday gift.




poems and painting by Rosemary Cappello


(Rosemary Cappello and her daughter Mary Cappello
photo by Jean Walton)

Rosemary is the editor and publisher of Philadelphia Poets and her poetry appears in the current issueof Iconoclast, and also in Avanti Popolo: Italian American Writers Sail Beyond Columbus, edited by Tommi Avicolli Mecca and James Tracy.

Rosemary Petracca Cappello started out as a letter writer; letters evolved into essays, and essays into poems. Her poems have been published in numerous journals, from The Anthology of Women Writing to Voices in Italian Americana. She has been a featured reader at just about anywhere that poets congregate, from the Alpha Delta Kappa, Gamma Chapter Annual Tea, to Zone One Gallery. A poet, writer, reviewer, editor, workshop leader, and performer, she developed, in connection with the Manayunk Art Center's annual Edgar Allan Poe readings, two presentations: an impersonation of Sara Helen Whitman, Poe's fiancée who shared his fascination with mesmerism, and Lizzie Doten, a spiritualist who was visited by Poe after his death.

Cappello has published several chapbooks of her own poetry. As editor of the works of others, she has published the following collections: Philadelphia Poets: One Year of Poetry - 1980-1981; Philadelphia Poets Second Year - 1981-1982; and two collections of poetry by students from the University of Rochester, Spring Poets '89 and Spring Poets '90. Currently, Cappello continues to edit and publish Philadelphia Poets and to organize readings regularly featuring poets whose works appear there.

A 1983 graduate of Widener University, summa cum laude, she won the following awards while a student: Nearing Prize in Literature, PA Association for Adults in Higher Education Outstanding Student Award, Citations from PA House of Representatives and Congress for literary achievements, Elected to Who's Who in American Universities, Newcombe and Hannum scholarships, and Widener's Prose and Poetry Awards.

Cappello is the mother of three, Joseph, Anthony, and Mary, and grandmother of two, Joey and Ilia. logo