To Be Who You Are, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

To Be Who You Are

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

There are days
When the soul
Doesn’t know
It has a body,
And nights
When the body
Doesn’t know
It has a soul.
Just try
To keep breathing–
Soul in, soul out,
Body open, body safe.
The moments
Of not knowing
Will pass,
And the holy weaving
Will root you in the soil
Of possibility.
No matter what happens
You are creating space
To be who you are,
Body as soul,
Soul as body–
One magnificent blossoming
Of light.

 

 

 


 

 




Moment, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Moment

by

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

Some nights, loneliness says:

“Everything fades.

Flowers. Fireflies. Pain.

Thing is to go out in as exquisite symmetry as you can—

Laughter on the one hand, tears on the other, and then—

Let all of your beautiful failures become the wind.”

 

 

 


 

 



By That I Mean, Praise, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

By That I Mean, Praise

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Take the time to look,

With all reverence and wonder,

At the elegant curling folds of the purple iris,

Or its perfectly formed concave inner trinity,

Or at the yellow daffodils

Declaring spring from their ruffled trumpets,

Or at the cherry blossom petals

Snowing into the wind—

 

Every curl, every trumpet, every petal

Is different from all the rest.

 

Exalt the vastness of variety.

Why limit the god of possibilities?

What exactly are you afraid of?

 

At least try to study—and by that, I mean

Praise—

How each and every buttercup

Holds a different piece of the sun,

How each and every helicopter seed

Whirling from the maple tree

Has its own fingerprint,

How each and every pink dogwood blossom

Looks like a different pink nun lying on her back

Singing to the blue mantle of the sky.

 

If you won’t invest the time, then do not

Try and take away the dignity of differences

And sweep them under the rug of easy things to say.

 

Nearly all the violence in the world

Stems from the delusion that sameness

Is the goal, that sameness is somehow

Ordained by the almighty, that somehow,

Sameness means complete security,

That somehow sameness brings calm.

 

Yes, if we cut each other on the hand

We both bleed red.  Look into my eyes

Before you draw the blade across my skin.

If you truly saw yourself then you would put the blade away.

 

These bodies, these genders, these multiplicities

Of singing voices, are not a threat

To your whiteness or religion—

They are revelations of a power so great,

So vast, that it gave birth even to you.

Stand firmly in your faith–trust the providence of your god,

For we are here—this endless field of wild flowers—

Swaying in the sun, we are here announcing

The god beyond the books, we are here

Proclaiming the glory of medley, we are here

To enunciate the one root holding us all together—

The one root of the right, and the majesty

To exist in this boundless, unending hymn of praise.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all bleed.  We all die.

We all are born.


I Don’t Know How I Know This, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

I Don’t Know How I Know This

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Inside the uplift of death—that moment–

When the white doors open

You will fly out of yourself long enough

To fly back into yourself in one terrible

And freeing inhaling exhale.

Daffodils lose their vibrant trumpets

To the sunlight, irises curl in on themselves

And alliums drop their radiating, purple petals to the ground.

Cherry blossoms scatter their thousand, million pink pieces

Of exquisite beauty into a spring wind that rouses

The mind to start moving on those plans laid out in winter,

And you cannot help but stare, and weep with such joy the moment

Uplifts and white doors open, and you fly into yourself

Long enough to fly back out yourself in one orgasmic,

Eternal—breath-catching inhaling exhale.

And when the sidewalks become dusted

In deep pink—so much so you cannot see the gray ground—

White doors open and you fly out of yourself long enough

To never return to the state of unnoticing.

Every moment we build up and break down,

We dissolve, we sag closer to the earth,

Our muscles loosen, our jaws slacken,

And we become like fragile, spring birds long enough

To breathe into ourselves, long enough

To exhale one last time into the air—

Just strong enough to blow open the white doors

And get swept up into the uplift where all the trumpeting

Daffodils wait, where all the irises unfurl

Their sex to the sky, where all the alliums burst

Purple bulbs from their tall, slender stalks, like

Slow motion fireworks—

There you will stay long enough

To bloom the fragrance

Of a life well lived into the ever spring

Of God.

 

 

 


 



A Faraway Place, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

A Faraway Place

For Shannon

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

She nods politely, smiling dutiful smiles at the nurses

As she walks outside into the yard where patients are permitted

To take in some silent sun;

 

She finds the bench she thinks is her favorite—

The one nearest the gate post; she sits, closes her eyes,

Inhales deeply until she grows still as a summer afternoon;

 

Inside she moves from garden to infinite garden, like

A hummingbird—her wings invisible in the honeysuckle atmosphere,

Her memories lifting, one by one, like so many pink petals

From the weeping cherry.

 

Where does the hummingbird go after it startles from the trumpet flower,

And vanishes, like retreating emerald lightning,

Back into the sky?

 

There are difficult questions and difficult answers, except here—

For when she lifts from her body, she will rise, dancing

In the weeping cherry petals letting go into the sun,

And one by one, her memories will return, like so many lost children,

And she will stand among them, arms open, welcoming them home.

 

 

 


 

 

Donations for this post will go to an Alzheimer’s foundation


Cycle of Gladness, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Cycle of Gladness

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

All winter we shine our little fires

So that the sun may rest,

And we become the light

We need for each other.

 

Come spring, she blooms—

Speaks into our mind: “Thank you.”

And moves closer, warming the world

With her dazzling smile.

 

Come summer, she watches over us

So that we may lose ourselves

In the drifting, sleepy days,

And the evenings when she drapes

The sky with all manner of mingling

Pinks and blues.

 

Come fall, she slowly turns away,

Pulling cool covers around her shoulders,

But not before leaving the trees ablaze with gold,

And not before cherishing the gratitude

Rising from our hearts.

 

 

 


 



This Voyaging, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

This Voyaging

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Try as you might you never see your back

Without the aid of a mirror.  We go about

Our days not even thinking of our backs

Unless they hurt.  Outside of that,

We move forward, slowly,

Quickly, mediumly, always propelled

Ahead by some unseen wind, or force,

Or energy, or, for some, by destiny—but

For those it’s more of a pulling

Than a pushing.  At times when we notice

The wind at our backs, we feel the slight

Sensation that if we leaned forwards

Just a little we might be lifted

Through the sky, like a piece of silk,

Only to descend at night on the branch of a tree, like

A sleepy shawl.  Go through your day today, sensing

Your back space, give it your attention

As you drift or storm onwards.  Know this:

What your back looks like doesn’t matter.

That it’s there, absorbing the current, like

A sail, is what matters.  There is no use

For trying to look back at your back—

Knowing it’s there is enough,

Knowing it sweeps you forward is enough,

Knowing it steers you in mysterious ways is enough,

Knowing you have the ability to change course is enough,

Knowing the way opens, like the sea,

And sallies you forth through your life

To where a harbor waits, beckoning you

To come ashore, roam the village bizarre,

Lodge in a tavern’s upper room, gather

Provisions, and then rise, setting sail yet again

Knowing, this journey, this voyaging,

This being guided home is enough.

 

 


 



Landing, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Landing

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Landing in meditation

I found myself

With you.  Of course,

I knew you would be

Waiting, open for me

To read, and you waiting,

To offer ideas and suggestions

For revisions of my story,

And yes, I know the last sentence

As everyone does, and when

It comes, and the journal is full,

Another will be ready-made with sewn binding

And paper made of linen

Watermarked with your kiss,

And you will lift me

From the pages

Of the full one—complete

With your lavish touches

And crammed with my ridiculous adventures,

And you will say, with all the pride

Of a parent laying a newborn

Into a bassinet—

Live.

 

 

 


 




I Wake Up Thirsty, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

I Wake Up Thirsty

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Every night, I wake up thirsty.

The only thing to do

Is lie back in the dark water,

Letting the dried, inner chambers

Soak through and through,

And then dream–

Dream I am a waterwheel,

And you—a silent river flowing through me.

 

 

 


 


 


The Gardener Tends the Sleeping Flowers, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

The Gardener Tends the Sleeping Flowers

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

The gardener moves in the darkness among the flowers

And bushes in the cemetery of caves and stones–

Who does that?  Who gardens by the light of the moon?

Who touches the closed faces and hands

And whispers blessings upon them?

Who prunes unnecessary branches as if baptizing a child?

Who bends down, robe of golden threads mixing with the earth,

And pulls weeds from around the herbs and succulents?

Who sculpts the soil of the roses?

Who tends the nests of sparrows while at the same time

Looks for you?

 

The one who walks among the graves.

The one who sees your beauty in the shadows.

The one who turns towards you

Even when you do not recognize him.

The one who removes the hood of his cloak,

And calls you by name.