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.

 

 

 

 


 




Buttercup Road, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Buttercup Road

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

When you go out you see.

The world opens a little more

With every turn of your gaze.

 

Yesterday, I walked the stretch of sidewalk

I call, Buttercup Road.  It’s lined with buttercups on both sides,

And if that doesn’t sting you with joy

Check your pulse.

 

I bent down to look more

Closely, each and every buttercup

Trembled with glee at the release of being seen—

Of little, old me witnessing their golden,

Shiny faces; of me getting close enough

I could have kissed them, petal by petal—I could have—

But didn’t.  I kissed them instead with praise and adoration,

And their hands opened wider for more.

 

That evening, I went back to visit them.

The sun was setting, the sky a splendid swirl

Of the transgender flag, and there they were—

Their faces cloaked in prayer, their hands cupping

The sun inside, their lips parted, touched

With moonlight all night long, I said to them:

“You dear, little lockets of honey, you holy, little chalices of sweetness,

I realize you are not here for me, you are here, like me,

For the sun; thank you for drawing my footsteps

Closer to the light.”

 

 

 


 



Every Day Life After the Attack, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Every Day Life

After the Attack

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

The day after.

The slipping back

Into your body.

The stepping back

Into your life.

The sitting down

With your perpetrators

At the breakfast table,

In church, at Thanksgiving dinner,

The friends coming over

To play in a house

Where you were pinned down,

The getting up the next morning,

The shutting down

Of what happened,

The pushing it away,

The surviving by vanishing

In plain sight,

The slow forgetting

So that life can go on

Even though the innocence

Of running outside on a long, drifting

Summer’s evening, disappears

Like a firefly in the trees.

The terror burrowing

Into your body, into your spirit,

Into the fabric of your mind,

To be carried with you

The rest of your life, like

A railroad spike in your guts,

That stabs you again and again

When you least expect it—

When a smell, the sound

Of cicadas, the flashback,

The Thanksgiving dinner,

The priest holding up

The Eucharist, triggers it all again—

And you feel like

You’re going to vomit the horrible truth,

And you freeze as you’re walking

To the store, and you shimmer

Out of your body again,

And don’t come back

For hours, and yet, you go about

Your day, a living mist, a disappearing

Person made of sand,

And somehow you manage

To return to your life—

The stain on your soul

Visible in your eyes,

And yet, you move on, you make it,

You survive another wave,

You emerge from the dark waters,

And you stride towards the healing

Into freedom, into the reclaiming

Of your life—the fucking forgiveness

And twisted loyalties, the fucking

It’s a gift, the fucking it was meant

To be, the fucking you somehow

Made it happen or deserved it,

The fucking you will let it

Hold your life hostage anymore,

The wonder of who you are—

A warrior battling every moment

To live, to recover your innocence

From pain’s tangled trees,

Where fireflies still blink, like

Beacons in the night,

Reminding you that you still

Shine.

 

Me, 5th grade, dressed up for a class play.

 

 


 




Wheels Within Wheels, A Prose Poem, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Wheels Within Wheels

A Prose Poem

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

The wheel of death turns, crushing everything eventually in its iron teeth.  The inevitable Good-bye waits just behind everyone you love.  Death and taxes are the only certainty, they say, in an ever-changing world.  Every breath breaks us down, little by little, like a walking hour glass.  All things end in suffering, they also say, from their cushion on the floor, where they carefully fold their legs, like a smug giraffe. As the grinding wheels turn and the paint peels invisibly at first, from the walls of your security, I am here to mention, in passing, there are other wheels turning their great, unceasing mechanisms.

The wheel of life turns, powered by the water of baby’s laughter and morning bird-song. The inevitable Hello waits just behind every stranger, flower, tree, and prayer.  Birth and bliss are among the many certainties in the arms of the Beloved.  Every breath builds us, like a walking tree absorbing light.  All things, so few say, splashing and stomping in puddles of rain, end in halcyon days of being held and nursed by eternal love.  As the wheel of life turns, and barns are raised, and fledglings fly, I am here to mention, in passing: joy is a certainty too.

The wheel of wonder turns, powered by waters of innocence we all carry whether we sense them or not.  It’s there carrying the inevitable inhalation of awe just behind every sunset and moment of revelation thrumming in your body.  Every time the hawk glides by, every time spring raises its enchanting exhale, every time the Beloved meets you as you move to help another—the wheel of wonder turns the imagination to create new pathways for the innocence to appear and move closer—like the heron, like the deer, like the compassion with which you bestow upon yourself and the soul of the world.

I am here to mention, in passing, there are many wheels turning in our hearts.  Witness each moment awake–for what it is—an ending, a beginning—the pause in a kiss, the hearts-touching-embrace and the stepping back.  If you become afraid of the cycle, move inwardly toward yourself to treat yourself with all the patience you would give to a friend.  The wheels will always turn.  And there is nothing to the idea of being caught up in them—caught up in the wheels of birth and death.  We can no more get stuck in those wheels as we can in a dream.  We are here—this moment.  Be attached.  Be ready to loosen into the sky, like a ribbon of laughter.  Yes, the road changes, while at the same time, the destination stays the same—the certainty of all certainties is there–the Beloved—waiting, holding the baskets of the bread of kindness you made all those years.  What matters now is which wheels do you see in your eyes when you look in the mirror? Which wheels do you see in the eyes of another?  One wheel mauls us into dust; one unfolds us, like morning; one lifts us, like a ferris wheel where we can pause to brush the stars with our fingers, and to kiss.

I will not say: Enjoy the ride.  Instead, I will say, in passing, be soil and let the water nourish you, and so too, be water and nourish the world.

 

 


 



Surprises, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Surprises

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

They are everywhere.

Every moment, every

Single thing in your life–

And ever it shall be so–

Is a surprise.

 

The turkey buzzard gliding, like

A black cloak loose in the sky,

The letter from England amidst the circulars,

The cardinals tangling and untangling

In the winterberry bush,

The first cabbage butterfly of spring,

This breath, this step, this ability

Of your heart to beat without you

Even thinking about it,

The ship of sleep arriving

At the harbor of your consciousness,

The frog at the wheel, tipping his hat

As you climb aboard, the waking up

In your bed, in your room, in your body,

The channa masala, the mango lassi,

The crunch of the toast in the morning,

The surprise you are and the gifts you give—

 

You get the idea.

 

And yes, there are unpleasant surprises.

We know this and yet we continue walking–

Through the graveyard, flowers in hand,

Into the kitchen where the difficult conversation awaits,

Into the hospital room where a loved-one fades,

Through waking up with a fever,

Through the snow storm in April,

Through the changing of the tire

On your way to the concert—

 

This certainty of a lifetime of surprise

Can be disconcerting, along with

The uncertainty of the surprise

Of what happens when your last breath

Joins the spirits at your bedside;

And yet, we keep moving, and sometimes

We curl up and rest, and other times

We simply stand where we are—afraid to move–

Eventually, we will take another step,

And the road will bloom, and the fear

May turn into wonder, and the living awake,

And the frog turning the wheel and shouting:

“Hoist the anchor! Make sail!  The wind is at our backs,

The horizon is calling: “Try and catch me, if you can.”

 

 


 

 



Redemption, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Redemption

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

It’s here.

Like spring in winter,

Like joy in grief

And grief in joy,

Like the answer

In a question,

And the question

In an answer.

Like you,

Like me.

 

It’s here.

Being revealed.

Like morning,

Like evening,

Like healing,

Like you in me,

And me in you,

Like truth,

And the way,

Like the end,

And the beginning.

 

It’s here.

Shining,

Shadowed,

Singing,

Beckoning,

Searching,

Found,

Like you in me,

Like me in you,

Like the road

Open to all.

 

 

 


 



International Women’s Day, Thursday, March 8 , 2018, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

International Women’s Day,

Thursday, March 8 , 2018

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

I am a woman.

Born with a penis.

I am a woman who harbors the moon

In the center of her soul.

Born with YX chromosomes,

Low testosterone and high levels of estrogen,

So much so the doctors

Were concerned for her health.

I am a woman with a manta ray

Billowing in the dark waters of her heart.

I am a woman who went unrecognized

When she was born regardless

Of the hormones glowing in her body.

I am a woman who walks with the willows.

I am a woman given testosterone shots

When she was a child.

I am a woman born with Bast in her mind.

I am a woman who sired three sons.

I am a woman who steals through the woods

Like a ribbon of light.

I am a woman called, “Mister,”

For many of her adult years.

I am a woman who sings to each and every tree.

I am a woman with a voice

Everyone identifies as male except the trees.

I am a woman with hidden wings large enough

To drape around her body when she sleeps.

I am a woman who shaves her tits.

I am a woman who speaks stars and planets.

I am a woman who feels most comfortable physically in men’s underwear.

I am a woman who roars.

I am a woman who walks the world in fear for her life, yet walks anyway.

I am a woman who knows when you are secretly grieving.

I am a woman with hair on her fingers.

I am a woman with baskets of bread in her arms.

I am a woman most people do not want to see.

I am a woman with a spirit on fire for justice.

I am a woman who presents in ways so as to smash the tired binaries.

I am a woman with darkness in her eyes that leads to lakes hidden by trees.

I am a woman blessed to be born again and again.

I am a woman surrounded by ghosts of ladies in waiting.

I am a woman feared by men and their stunted desires.

I am a woman who raises the dead from the ground as she passes.

I am a woman feared by TERFS and their insecurities in their own femininity.

I am a woman who nests in her bed like a sleeping bear.

I am a woman feared to exist in the world.

I am a woman who bathes in flowers.

I am a woman with lotuses growing up her spine.

I am a woman with orchids watching from her thoughts.

I am a woman with tigers hiding in her laughter.

I am a woman followed by trooping faeries.

I am a woman walking side by side with a snowy unicorn of power.

I am a woman with herbs in her pockets and moss on her cloak.

I am a woman with hidden rivers of light in her touch.

I am a woman with the universe in her hair.

I am a woman who shatters skewed perceptions.

I am a woman who knows herself as the moon knows the trees.

I am a woman.

Born with a penis.

I am a woman changing the world.

I am a woman as divine as you.

 

 


 

 


All donations to this post go to The Sisterhood Agenda


Changing Everything, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Changing Everything

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

You know very well

When you push a mug off the table

It breaks.

You know very well

When you take steps

Towards your door

You get there.

You know very well

About cause and effect,

How when the butterfly

Opens and closes her wings

As she dapples around the field,

She makes waves somewhere

Far away.  You may feel

Insignificant.  You may feel

Inconsequential, but the truth is

Everything you do, every movement,

Gesture, and breath, shimmers

Out over and into the silver fabric

Of time and space.  Everything

Eventually touches everything else,

No matter whether you sense it or not.

There is no need to sit back

And feel afraid or ashamed,

Or like you may as well be

A feather on the breath of God.

You are not the feather.

You are the breath.  Speak

Your life, declare your spirit,

Move, like a giant, and that

Doesn’t mean stomping

And ravaging around—it means

Be big in your plans, be heard

As you become more and more yourself,

Even if that means being

Quiet as a mouse, making

Tiny, meticulous arrangements—

Sooner, or later, your presence will

Rattle the castle and waken the cat,

So, move as if your very existence

Touches everything and everyone

Around you and faraway, because

It does.  And should you ever feel

Buffeted around, like the afore mentioned

Feather in the wind, then go—

Release yourself into that

Until you come to rest on the water

Beneath the trees, where your arrival

Radiates out, moving the eyes

Of fish and frog and the otter drifting

With the moon on its belly,

Changing everything just by being

You.

 

curtis

 

 


 

 

All donations go to medical bills and groceries.  Thank you for your kind support. <3


 

 

 


Finding the Field, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Finding the Field

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

It’s there.

Inside.  And that

Is so easy

For me to say.

And for that, I am

Ever grateful.  For you,

It may not be.

The furthest thing

May be a field

Inside you.

It might be so far

Away it may as well

Not even be there.

You might be

Full of vast ink-

Oceans and fog

That moves as if

It was alive—the darkness

Might be so all

Encompassing you

Can’t imagine

Anything else in there.

Try this though—

Close your eyes, and take

As slow, deep a breath

To the count of four as you can,

Hold it gently to

The count of four,

Then exhale slowly

To the count of four,

Do this sequence three times

And then low

A field appears

In front of you, watch—

It might be golden wheat,

It might be soft green

And full of flowers,

It might be a field

Of sunflowers stretching as far

As the eye can see.

See the golden field

Sway as the wind touches

Each strand with so much

Tenderness, see how the field

Ripples with a river of joy from the touch,

See it—the sun—raying exquisitely

Humming light—honeyed

And warm; and see

Blue sky arching over

A perfectly color-

Coordinated relationship

With the field.

Notice you are

Standing just outside

The field. Realize

The wheat, the grass, the wild flowers

Nearly all come up

To your waist–

Except the sunflowers—

See them bowing their heads

To smile upon you—

And there you are just

On the edge of the field.

You reach out your hand,

And brush the top of the grass.

Now, you can either step into the field

Or you can turn around

Back to whatever it is

That’s behind you.  There

You have a choice:

Brilliant, luminous light-touched

Field, darkness that isn’t

The nourishing kind, but draining.

Whatever it is you choose,

Know this:  you now have

A field inside you,

And it will always be there,

It always has been there

Swaying beneath the breath

Of the one who loves you.

The next step is not just

Up to you.  I mean, it is, and also

There are forces–

Currents and hands

Pushing and pulling, guiding,

Persuading, nudging, influencing

The way.  And there are the ones

Who, for whatever the reasons

Cannot choose—illnesses of many kinds

Perhaps inhibit the ability to freely choose—

Those will all be born along

And cared for as they bloom

Into full health and radiance.

For those who can, and I believe

You are one of them—you

Are blessed to be able to choose. Finally, there

Appears a thousand fireflies

Floating and bobbing,

Right there, in the daylight,

Illuminating light upon light,

And whatever you do

When the time comes to decide,

Remember this: there is field inside you,

Swaying beneath the breath of the one

Who loves you.

 

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All donations go to medical bills and groceries.  Thank you so much for your kind support. <3


Morning’s Arrival, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Morning’s Arrival

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

The tree leans in,

Taps the window.

The one inside

Rises slowly,

Moves, touches the pane.

 

Suddenly it’s gone—

Dissolving into vast, open spaces;

And the freshness of the air

Fills the body, lifts the spirits,

Calms the mind, frees the soul.

 

The one inside

Breathes for the first time

In years, allowing the fingers of the tree

To dance over them

With the utmost tenderness,

Spreading a joy so clean,

So almost unimaginably sweet–

Yet there it is—rivering through them.

 

And as the tree continues its feather-light

Touches, the one inside

Moves further, closer, and climbs

Into its branches, settles

Into its arms, and the tree—

Rooted deeply in the cool, delicious earth,

Cradles the one inside, who is now

The one outside, and lifts them up

Towards the moon and the stars,

Holding them aloft—a new born

Child—and sways, and hums

Freedom songs into the sky, and waves as gently

As morning’s sun-filled arrival.

 

 

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All donations go to medical bills and groceries.  Thank you for your kind support. <3