Untitled, by Radiance Angelina Petro



Radiance Angelina Petro




The first words of 2023 could go something like this:

Dear Lord, please help us fix this mess,


look—a road just opened that was never there before,


ssshh….come here…do you hear that?

Or maybe:  You take that end, bend at the knees,

watch your back—OK—on three.

It’s possible there won’t be any first words.

Perhaps it will be the sound of a bell—low,

and resonate, or the sound of a conch shell being blown

by someone, somewhere on the shores of an unknown sea.

Perhaps it will be the first light,

coming from a searchlight scanning the sky,


maybe it will come from inside you—

open your mouth and see—

it might shine from a source unknown

and land on the twelve-string sleeping in the corner.

Perhaps there won’t be a first word or first light.

Perhaps it will be the first darkness of many,

the first darkness of deep diving,

the first darkness just before the curtains part,

the first darkness of womb and night—waiting

for us to give birth to something, like hope,

or a forgotten strength, or maybe a new language—

unspoken, yet understood by every hand and heart,

perhaps it will be a humming, deep and rising—

revealed from the first morning that opens

her cloaks and shawls—a thrumming drone

hummed by everyone, everywhere,

ready, at any moment, to break

into song.




My Undoing, Revised for Poetry Reading at Elkins Park Library, Wednesday, November 16th, 2022,by Radiance Angelina Petro

My Undoing

Revised for Poetry Reading at Elkins Park Library,

Wednesday, November 16th, 2022

by Radiance Angelina Petro




I do not want to be reborn.

My birth is still happening–for the rest of my life—

I will be being born.

My life is an unfolding, unburdening,

a blessed untangling, a sacred unveiling, gradual

unloosening, gentle unhusking, tender unlacing,

slow unraveling—an unceasing, uncensored, unrestrainable

joy. My thoughts are unclouded, my needs

unarguable, my light unshaded, my spirit

unharmed, untasted, unleashed.  My life

unbreakable, untwisting, uncoiling.  My desires

unbuttoning, unclothing, unconditionally mine,

unequivocally, wonderful, and exquisitely unquenchable.

My passion unabridged, my shame unlearned

with moments of bliss unhurried, unlocked, unshuttered, and rising.

I unlatch the fence around the garden

and my playfulness rambles unbridled,

uncivilized, uncalibrated, unjudged.

The reasons for my being worthy

are mine and mine alone—beautiful, because I say so.

They are undebatable, undeniable, and clear.  My voice

unedited, undistorted, my brow unfurrowed, my stomach

unknotted, my wildness undomesticated, unlabeled,

untamed, and untamable–feared by many.  My wants

unencumbered, unfaded, unfallen, and fucking

legit, and fucking mine, and there is time to feel

and unfeel, form and unform, freeze and unfreeze.

My ways are unfamiliar, unfettered, unforced,

unforgettable. My sleep finally uninterrupted.

My creativity unbound, unlimited by anything

anyone says or does–my cries unmuffled, my faith

unmovable, my rage unmuzzled, my fears

unneeded, my hours of solitude gladly unnumbered,

memories uncrowded with ghosts, the love

of myself unending, unserious, unshakable,

unseparated.  My cities of wonder, of purpose,

of possibilities—unshelled, unobliterated. My wheels

unstuck, and the road unblocked.  I unsew, unstitch,

the fabric of pain so to feel so to mend so to create

a shawl of wings.  My legs steady, my stance strong.

My innocence untainted, untarnished, unstolen—reclaimed.

My life the gift of a life unlived lived now–I am

my world—unyielding, unstoppable, and gloriously undone.


Monkey, Frog, and the Moon, by Radiance Angelina Petro

Monkey, Frog, and the Moon


Radiance Angelina Petro




Monkey sits in the darkness by a spring,

its crooked finger points at the moon.

Focus on the moon, frog says, sitting nearby,

forget the finger. The moon is the goal.


Monkey’s face grows silver. The moon is the goal,

repeats monkey over and over inside, until

the words become fingers directing its attention–

which floats away, ribboning a river of mist

through the branches of the trees, which also point

at the moon. And then–


a firefly alights on the tip of its finger, like

a lamp emerging from behind a shroud.

Monkey keeps its attention single-

mindedly on the moon–the goal.

Firefly flickers and winks it’s soft, green light.

And try as it might to not–monkey’s gaze drifts down

and down until, at last (as pieces of the moon flow away

in the spring), it rests on the fancy firefly blinking

its secret, flashing code. Monkey’s eyes became round—

rounder than the moon, and its mind becomes

an astonished, satisfied mind,


and frog widens its definitions of goal and moon,

and licks its lips, measuring the distance

between firefly and its glistening, opening mouth.






maybe called, Interdependence Day, by Radiance Angelina Petro

A rambling, unedited, stream of consciousness something—maybe a poem, maybe a prayer, maybe both, maybe nothing, maybe everything, maybe called, Interdependence Day.





Sunny skies swirl cloud and blue and sun

not above or below but everywhere in around us all

a shared breath selfsame breath selfsame air

this invisible shared inhaling and blending exhales

this ground of grass and pavement makes for no roads

only one vast common floor

floor of blood floor of starvation of unspeakable must be

spoken violence hate and canceling of people

floor of dancing floor of fighting stolen floor

rights torn away floor must somehow somenow heal floor

bridged floor above

inconceivable now conceivable all swallowing fire

hunger and toppling of trees and collapsing communities

of ingesting entire species into gone and gone and gone

bridges merging never truly apart thirst of soul

of ache for home longing for all fears comforted away and through

everything depends on red wagons and hands across the water

and apple trees and honeybees and putting your hand in the hand

of the one who calms the sea please believe in us tree and fields vegetables

and fruits forgive us our sins against you but have no mercy

but instead rage that sweeps us all into we must change

as long as we share breath of sage of seasons rituals

and last breaths and first breaths playful breaths of children

and of giraffes and bats dolphins and whales the cricket the crane

it swirls blue skies and sunlight swirling differences into somehow

a song lament psalm choir of here now angels

of purple mountains majesty of amber waves of grain

of rockets red glare and ramparts and land not free

but stolen may we breath the spirit of manifest restitution

understanding until ever more justice be done as protests bloom

and riots cleanse and conversations difficult and trembling and hopeful

move us to tears and the ability to bear witness to one anothers pain

of the ability of feeding each other ourselves from shared gardens

free us of the illusion delusions of breath being

our own we share swirling blue skies and sunlight in our bodies

may we fall into each others arms and weep until the healing is done





“Come Here,” says the Morning, by Radiance Angelina Petro

“Come Here,” says the Morning


Radiance Angelina Petro



“Come here,” says the morning,

“there are things to do that don’t involve a bed.”

“Open me,” says the door, “the day invites you out.”

“Over there,” the tree points, “walk beside that creek.”

“Don’t worry,” says the dragonfly, “I am with you all the way.”

“See that?” asks the beam of sun spotlighting

a particular rock sitting half out of the water.

“Hear that?” asks the air.

“Watch this,” says the mallard, ducking its head under,

then coming up shaking bits of light from its iridescent, green collar.

“Try this,” says the heron, standing on one leg and staring faraway.

“Guess what I’m looking at.”

“Feel that?” asks the moment, “I am everything you could have asked for,

and it is OK to ask for more.”

“Think of it,” says the mind, “the world is thinking of you.”

“Imagine,” says the soul, “your body is just as much me,

as I am you. Try dancing. Try singing. Try remembering the future you want.

“Go ahead, let it in. The day is in love with you.”




Newly Risen Roads, a Poem of Lost Words, by Radiance Angelina Petro

Newly Risen Roads
A poem of lost words*
Radiance Angelina Petro



The city streets turned
the screevers had no sidewalks
to chalk their thorn-crowned saviors,
abby lubbers had nowhere nor anywhen to go,
store fronts shattered and ramshackled,
cafe chairs scattered (strewn) about the marshy road,
this all befounded and cabobbled
the kedge-bellied snogly-g’eared and the flamfoos.
How can this be? They wailed and gnashed
their teeth and beat their chests.
We performed the myomancy and nothing was foretold.
We have done nothing! They shouted,
and cockroaches scuttling sides of crumbling buildings
with nowhere else to go, echoed: Nothing, nothing, nothing.
Each step the people took sank them deeper,
Until the antipodes spoke:

May we ever cease our endless shail-abouting
and davering,
may the dendranthologists be right,
may we one day neeze through new branches
spying shiny-sky-blue eggs,
may we cut away each other’s elflocks
and brush each other’s hair,
promising to sing forth a new dawn,
promising to tend awake the world,
may we one day be weeping-ripe,
in order that we may go glad-warbling
through newly risen roads.



*Lost word meanings from the book, “The Word Museum,” by Jeffrey Kacirk.

1). wooze: marshy ground
2). screevers: someone who draws figures of thorn-crowned saviors on sidewalks
3). abby lubbers: someone who loiters in a church
4). anywhen: anytime
5). befounded: to perplex or stun
6). cabobbled: to mystify or confuse
7). kedge-bellied: someone who stuffs themselves as full as a keg
8). snogly-g’eared: handsomely dressed
9). flamfoos: a gaudily dressed person
10). myomancy: divination by means of mice
11). antipodes: people living directly on the other side of the earth to us, with their feet directly against ours
12). shail-abouting: to move as if bones were loose in their sockets
13). davering: walking around dazed and aimlessly
14). dendranthologists: people who theorize that humans emerged from trees
15). neeze: to go searching for bird-nests
16). elflocks: knots of hair twisted by elves which cannot be untangled
17). weeping-ripe: ready to weep, ripe for weeping
18). glad-warbling: singing or walking joyfully

Let the Day Be Praised, by Radiance Angelina Petro

Let the Day Be Praised


Radiance Angelina Petro



Rise from the deep

blue womb of the ocean,

and walk, ungarlanded,

to the tide-swept shore.

Blow a kiss to the past,

and be nourished by froth

and waves, and the strong

togetherness of feet and ground.

Assemble your wishes—

there is no more taking time,

no more time-keeping,

no lengths of time to follow.

Focus on the spot in the skull

that radiates tones—hear them

in advance—their floating, ringing

resonances tickling your insides.

The lungs want air–

sing with your whole body–

let the day be praised–

as one step flows into another,

and a rhythm emerges.

Let the dead watch you go

as you declare your intention—

deep and strong.

Soon you will be armed

with flames and arrows,

as you storm the horizon,

letting the world see

who you really are.








He Is There, by Radiance Angelina Petro

He is There


Radiance Angelina Petro



When beginning

you can sing,

testifying to a hidden



Let the sensibility

of the imagination

arrange the details,

and join them.


It all necessitates

a conscious start.

Turn a little to the side—

he is there.


Narrow your focus,

rise, and practice,

don’t stop singing,

he will do the rest.




Drawing the Line, by Radiance Angelina Petro

Drawing the Line


Radiance Angelina Petro



The first necessary movement he makes is to draw the line

that changes our perspective and shifts our inclinations, making us

become aware life departs from symmetry, which is too much to bear.

Our darkness has the greatest potential to break, and so, he draws light

from that.  The turning point is when we realize it all seems complete without

being finished.  His simplest line of action is to attach us to a common center—

a fixed position of grace, and all the details and draperies drawn in pale lines

are left behind, and in great, sweeping gestures, he swings the line,

curves it inwards and upwards to become your lifeline.  All of his lines

weave our way, all of his lines are expressions of devotion,

all of his lines strive forward, all of his lines radiate crossings,

all of his lines move in rhythm, all of his lines describe the simplest way

of action, and all of his lines interlock, and form a strong togetherness

as we are erased into bliss.