My Romance with the Black Wool Coat

(this poem first appeared in The MacGuffin,Winter 2021, Vol. XXXVII, No. 1, and was nominated for the Best New Poets anthology).



I once left the coat on a bed

at a crowded house party, where it

took off with another woman.

She left me her reject—

a more useful black coat,

it turned out, loose enough


to accommodate three layers

of sweaters and stash cash

between the lambswool

and the acetate lining.

Here I am peering from the seam

of my generation at my reflection


in the tempered glass of United Airlines

Gate A5, dizzy in its embrace,

as family ghosts crowd

me in their yellow Star of David-

marked coats from old train

station platforms.


One can’t predict how America’s political

passage may change, just that it will,

like my romance with the black

wool coat, and Grandma’s

gold ring that I plan to marry

deep into its hem.




Abby Caplin’s poems have appeared in AGNI, Catamaran, Love’s Executive Order, Manhattanville Review, Midwest Quarterly, Salt Hill, TSR: The Southampton Review, Tikkun, and elsewhere. Among her awards, she has been a finalist for the Rash Award in Poetry, semi-finalist for the Willow Run Poetry Book Award, finalist for the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Award, and a winner of the San Francisco Poets Eleven. She is a physician and practices mind-body medicine in San Francisco.