Murmurations, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Murmurations

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

The flock of starlings rises, like a black dot-to-dot,

Lifting from the page, into the air, where it swirls–writhing, like

A confused river tossing and turning—back and forth,

Dizzying the threat of the falcon.

 

As suddenly as it began it starts to dissolve, each starling

Finding its place on the powerlines and trees, where they breathe

Little sighs of feather-settling relief.

 

As I sit in my car from the side of the road where I pulled over to watch,

A panic surges within my chest and it seems to me

There is no other way than the lifting of all things—

Moments, friends, kisses, ways of walking and singing—

All things releasing themselves into the unconscious sky,

As if time were shaking off the sheets of the memory.

 

Suddenly as it began, the panic disperses, my fears

Finding their places coursing through the hollow bones of a faith

That carries me inexplicably over the hillsides and valleys, where death–

That falcon who notices all things–will only fall back

For so long, and yet what I love gathers on higher branches

And upon the lines of the staff of the song the goddess sings

Forming a universe filled with galaxies giving birth to starlings

That, in turn, give birth to entire flocks of revelation—

Wings and hearts swirling into the form of shared communities of hope.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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Breathing Out the Dark, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Breathing Out the Dark

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

Come, summer, the earth is opening for you.

Autumn is igniting secret, slow embers across

The hillside, and when they seize the air and blaze freely,

It will be for you as fireworks

In honor of the long afternoons

You spread—bee dappled—and seed-floating

For children to run through.

 

Come, summer, the streams and rivers

Are inviting your heat to rest in their many cool folds

And moving pockets of pebbles and stones.

Sink into their praising hands and laughter—

All in thanks of you and the shafts of light

You directed at their faces and the fronds of the ferns—

You established trails and made for us paused moments

Of birdsong-filled reflection.

 

Come, summer, hands and backs are readying

To gather the gifts spring spilled upwards from the ground

To be sun-fostered and breeze-held by you.

It is with this thought, this sense of knowing you

For the first time, having missed you

In the star-filled expanse of voice-filled evenings—

This feeling of settling and thanks,

That the earth offers you a place to recompose

Your light among the cool, falling asleep roots,

Until you are ready to rise again with the crickets

And cicadas, and strum for us another season

Of breathing out the dark.

 

 

 


 

 

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Diagnosis, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Diagnosis

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Gnosis.  A knowing

Of mysteries, wind-whispers,

And scrolls written on bone.

Dia: to be thorough, and yes,

To be thorough twice.

Know yourself Thales

Admonishes.  We are water

And stars.  We are living, breathing

Wind-walkers, and so much

More. Faces tell surface truths.

Eyes tell more.  The timber of the voice still more,

And how one walks and breathes

Betrays it all; every step

And breath unfolds your revelation

Into the world.  Pause

Every now and again,

And again, and look into the water

Reflection of those around you–

What is it about you that makes you

One of a kind, a kind of galaxy of discoveries

And wonder among a sea

Of other galaxies?  What is it you really

Perceive when you pass the mirror,

When you tell someone your name?

Know this: No matter what label you are given,

Or choose to give yourself,

No matter the name of the illness ascribed

To the story of your life, you are

Thoroughly known twice—

Once by your very own dreaming soul,

And once, over and over, unending,

By the one who pours water

Into your cells, and knows the stars

By name, ever blossoming the song of all

Into the wind.

 

 

 


 

 


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Catching Myself, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Catching Myself

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

Lately I have been thinking

When I was young I would

Buy butterfly nets, or make them,

And then go chasing after those delicate,

Powder-winged beings.

I swooped my net down,

Across, zig zag—anything to

Snatch a butterfly in midflight,

And when I captured one,

As gently as I could, I removed it

From the net, held it cupped in my hands,

Felt it tickling my palms

With fear-filled wings,

Examined its face, legs, and abdomen—

Resisting the traumatized impulse

To dog-ear its wings,

And then I would let it go

Like I was offering it to the world,

Like I was doing something kind,

Like I had every right to disturb

The life and heartbeat of these most

Cosmological beings, and then,

I would look at my hands

And see stains of pigment

Smudged on my palms—

It made me feel guilty,

It made me feel cruel,

And it made me feel like,

Just once, I had some form

Of beauty glittering inside me

as I fluttered into the waiting, stormy sky.

 

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Sitting With Sadness, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Sitting with Sadness

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Time slows like it does on long summer afternoons,

You smell the scent of rain even though there is a cloudless sky,

You get up to go about your day and sadness follows you like a moveable river,

You resist impulses to drown out her sobbing with food, sex, spending—

You feel her rocking back and forth in your heart causing you to do the same in your chair,

Trees whisper windy syllables through the curtains and gently tousles your hair,

Bees hover around your house making sure you understand sadness brings gifts of honey,

Cicada song drones through the sky in waves and settles into the hollow places deep in your bones,

A terrible longing–timeless and holy, lives in her tears and touches yours,

And when she decides to leave, she assures you she will return,

And if you are able, you will sit with her again as she weeps around the roots of your being.

 

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However, It Is, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

However, It Is

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

However it is trees really come about, however it is

The moon inhales and exhales, however it is

Raven feathers hold rainbows in their barbs, however it is

We have school yards full of children inside us,

However it is we grow, pouring cells into the world of form

Rising and falling, however it is, the soul is ever thirsty

With oceans living there, however it is birdsong

Follows us wherever we go, however it is we love,

Rising and falling, however it is we dream, however

It is we remember our dreams, however

It is we are immersed in sky, like fish in water, however

It is flowers are so wonderfully geometric, however

It is the earth spins like a whirling dervish, however

It is we search for ourselves in one another, however

It is we kill in God’s name, however

It is we still pray, however

It is, however, it is; however,

It is.

 

flower

 


 

 

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Child of Sadness, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Child of Sadness

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

She came to me in silence,

Stepping from a shroud of light,

I saw her coming from a long distance away,

And stood as still as I could.

When she reached me

And looked at me with tear-filled eyes,

I offered her my hand and she took it,

And we sat in the field

For long summer hours as she wept without ceasing,

Dragonflies and bees and dandelion seeds

Floated around us like dreams.

We sat there in the field—

Her sobbing from a river of sadness,

Me bearing witness to her pain.

And this time, never once trying

To take away her suffering.  This time,

Surrounded by the gentle hum of angel wings,

This time honoring who she was,

I listened, wide eyed, and heart open,

As she filled my soul with tears.

 

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Thank you for your support.  All donations go to medical expenses and groceries.


Where Are You Going?, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Where Are You Going?

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Sometimes, while driving,

I’m thinking:  All those other drivers–

Where did they get into their cars?

Was it at a grocery store?

Was it in their driveway?

Was it at a rest stop?

Was it at a church, mosque, synagogue, temple?

Was it at a twelve-step meeting?

Was it at a restaurant?

Was it at a hospital?

Was it at a funeral?

Was it at home after a huge fight with a loved-one?

Was it at a hike?

Was it at a corporate brass meeting?

Was it at the side of the road after changing a tire?

Was it at a pet store?

Was it at the midwife’s?

Was it at a meeting of the KKK?

Was it at a book club?

Was it at a bookstore?

Was it after a surprise birthday party?

Was it at school?

Was it at a soccer game?

Was it at the laundry mat?

Was it at a blind date?

Was it at a wedding?

Was it after having an affair?

Was it at the police station?

Or after a doctor’s appointment?

Or after going to a food-bank?

Or after visiting a relative with Alzheimer’s?

Or after going to a porn shop?

You get the idea.

My mind asks these types of questions,

And somehow I am still able to concentrate on driving.

Of course, these questions beg another:

Where are they all going?

Where will they step out of their car

And shut the door?

Will it be at a grocery store?

Will it be in their driveway?

Will it be at a rest stop?

Will it be at a church, mosque, synagogue, temple?

Will it be at a twelve-step meeting?

Will it be at a restaurant?

Will it be at a hospital?

Will it be at a funeral?

Will it be at home after a huge fight with a loved-one?

Will it be at a hike?

Will it be at a corporate brass meeting?

Will it be at the side of the road to change a tire?

Will it be at a pet store?

Will it be at the midwife’s?

Will it be at a meeting of the KKK?

Will it be at a book club?

Will it be at a bookstore?

Will it be a surprise birthday party?

Will it be at school?

Will it be at a soccer game?

Will it be at the laundry mat?

Will it be at a blind date?

Will it be at a wedding?

Will it be to have an affair?

Will it be at the police station?

Or to a doctor’s appointment?

Or a food-bank?

Or to visit a relative with Alzheimer’s?

Or to a porn shop?

OK. You get the idea.

Everyone starts wherever they are.

Everyone goes on a journey.

Everyone shares the road.

Everyone ends up someplace.

Everyone has the ability to get lost,

To change directions,

To turn around,

To speed,

To use the slow lane.

Everyone is moving towards a destination.

Everyone is risking a crash.

Everyone looks in their rearview mirror

And the road ahead.

Most everyone sings.

My parents used to have a medallion

Of Saint Christopher stuck to their dashboard.

May the angels and saints guide us all.

 

 

 

 

 



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On Notice, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

On Notice

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

At a moment’s notice

You’re on notice.

Did you notice that?

It may come person to person,

Or deer to person, or hawk to person,

You might receive notice in the mail–

It might be short notice,

Advanced notice,

Official notice,

It might be public notice,

Or you might be noticed in secret by a shadow, or the moon.

However it comes, whatever its nature,

Take it as best you can, for rest assured

One day you will be put on notice,

Or you will put notice on yourself—whichever it is—

There may not be further notice.

Keep in mind there are notes in every notice–

Musical notes that just want to be seen and heard and played.

For all noticings are musical by nature, every time

You notice another, the soul dances.

The thing to remember is this:

 

Nothing goes without notice forever.

When death comes with her eviction notice,

You will have no choice but to sit up and take it.

 

I notice your eyes,

The slight tilt of your face,

I notice you breathing on these words

Giving them life.

 

 

 


 

 

 




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Transitioning, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Transitioning

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

In the first place,

To begin with,

The first thing to remember,

By all means,

In light of,

In any event,

Moreover,

Then again,

To clarify,

As a matter of fact,

Until now,

As you can see,

When,

Surprisingly,

To put it differently,

Sooner or later,

Suddenly,

Altogether,

Coupled with,

Beyond,

Similarly,

Of course,

Next,

Now,

In detail,

Accordingly,

In the final analysis,

Together with,

For this intention,

For this in mind,

Here and there,

Alongside,

Be that as it may,

Again,

And again,

Nevertheless,

In reality,

To be sure,

I am,

Uniquely,

Granted, that,

In the same fashion,

That is to say,

I am whole,

For one thing,

I am here,

In like manner,

Owing to,

Being that,

As well as anyone,

I am,

Equally important,

At the same time,

Furthermore,

Above all,

I am here,

In essence,

All in all,

Here,

Regardless,

No matter,

I am here,

In the long run,

All in all,

Surprisingly,

Transitioning,

Here.

 

easter me

 

 


 

 




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