Broken Plate, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Broken Plate


Jennifer Angelina Petro



There’s a crack in my dinner plate.

A nearly invisible seam.

If I urge it a little, it shines.

I am so hungry.

The lasagna’s hot.

I lift up the plate in my hands, like

A priest holding a plate for the Eucharist,

And mumble:

We are all fragile in this way.

Let me finish this one meal

And I will change my life forever.









Enchantment, By Jennifer Angelina Petro



Jennifer Angelina Petro



In the memory

There are many roads

Pointed in many directions,

As in a crumpled piece of paper;

Along each furrow and fold

Are tiny clots of snow

Waiting for the warm smile

Of necessity to loosen them, like

A flock of starlings—giving the world

What was written down

And forgotten.






The Gravity of Longing, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

The Gravity of Longing


Jennifer Angelina Petro



The moon reaches down

Lifting the waves in her cupped hands,

Scales of fish contain petals of the sun,

Moths slip the gravity of their longing

Letting their wings catch fire,

Wind arrives at street corners, spinning leaves

In little galaxies,

Deer move as solemn Druids,

Leaving angel hoof-prints in the snow,

Union and separation whirl in expanding

And contracting orbits of desire,

Creation wheels around the flame of god,

The road of your passion unfurls before you,

With a keenness that washes your hair and hands–


Keep your prayers coming and your steps light–

They will return home, dancing.








Initial Reflections Big Tree State Park, Arnold, California, August 5, 2018, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Initial Reflections

Big Tree State Park,

Arnold, California

August 5, 2018



Forest of crones and matriarchs,

Healers of sky and souls,

Sentinels of time and warning


If you pass this way walk in reverence,

And gladness—we are here, watching

Over you—a tribe of sisters and mothers—

We are here—ordained to preach the gospel

Of earth and sanctuary—

Children—we guard your steps,

And have raised you with the milk of our wisdom—

It is in your hearts and hands to protect us

From those who would harm us further from greed,

As you look up to us, open your ears as best you can—

Listen with deep soul—

We sing, and have been singing since the beginning—

Singing the song of our mother, your grandmother,

Our song lifts you into the branches

Of our stories and of yours, we spread the song of our roots—

And your roots, and the roots of your ancestors—

We know each and every one of your names—

We tend your bones, surrounding them with tenderness—

Holding them in the arms of our roots–

Listen with deep soul–

We are here, singing you home.







In the Beginning, Now, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

In the Beginning, Now


Jennifer Angelina Petro



The day the banished couple

Sat desperately trying to sew together

The leaves of paradise, was the day

Poetry was born.


To attempt to go back you must walk

In pure sound and naked images,

You must grapple with knowing

The tree of life is still yours

And what, if anything, are you going to do

About it?


The snake was just being a snake,

And by that I do not mean—evil—

I mean whatever the next thought is

When trying to flesh out the creator,

I mean, whatever the next thing is

You do when you realize your nakedness—


Let these ideas, and all others, scatter, like

So many puffs of the dandelion,

Let any shame be gone, and your power be now,

Let your wonder become tears,

And your tears become words.






Breathe Deeply the Wonder, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Breathe Deeply the Wonder


Jennifer Angelina Petro



Everything holds a cache of light.

You can see it, of course, in the eyes

And hear it in the singing voice,

At times it drips from the fingers

When the touch is one of mercy.


When we die—when every living thing

Dies—that planted light releases

Into the air, the sky—it lifts, like

A firefly from the field, and travels

God knows where.


If we could see the light going forth

From each thing that dies—each person,

Animal, flower, insect, mite, microorganism—

It would look like a constant carnival—

A festival of lanterns, a galaxy of fireflies—


Every second of every day—each and every moment—

Things die all around us—little, luminous lights rise

From everywhere—bushes, trees, porches,

Sidewalks, hospitals, homes—everywhere light—

Light rising, like a million tiny mornings,

Light diving, like melting snow, back into the earth,

Light smiling at the sudden spiral into freedom–

Ascensions bloom all around us, dartling like

So many intimate flames—


If we could see—and we can if we try—

We would understand we walk through flocks of stars,

And our steps should be conscious and deliberate—and yet as of a child’s–

We live and move in light whirling through branches

And windows, gardens, and streets—


And one day, your light—my light—

Will join the celebration—and someone will marvel

At light’s agreement with the darkness, pray for the illumination,

And breathe deeply the wonder.






Vision, By Jennifer Angelina Petro



Jennifer Angelina Petro



Three horses step through the ruins

Searching for God knows what.


Mist swirls from their great nostrils,

A red sun sheens over their riverous muscles.


They move from body to body

Nosing the ones still warm.


As they approach the edge of the city,

Their manes tossing like seaweed in a slow-motion-sea,


They hang their heads low, kiss the ground,

And disappear.






August, By Jennifer Angelina Petro



Jennifer Angelina Petro



When I heard your footsteps

I dropped my book and pretended to be sleeping.


You lingered, touching the poems

On my desk.  You whispered things

Only the ink remembers.


After reading them, testing their weight,

You said the one word I longed and dreaded to hear.


I lifted my head but couldn’t meet your eyes.

And you, for your part, took my hand.







Silverfish, By Jennifer Angelina Petro



Jennifer Angelina Petro



I went downstairs to do laundry.

A silverfish loosened from the shadows,

Crawling along the edges of the floor,

It’s long feelers sweeping the area in front and to the side,

Sensitive to any pivot of the foot.


Putting down the basket, I found myself

On hands and knees following it

Behind the dampened fingers of the water pipes

And musty boxes of teaching supplies,

To where it somehow disappeared under the wall.


Over the years silverfish have appeared in my life—

Sometimes dropping, like tears,

From the bindings of books,

Sometimes shimmering from out of nowhere

Outside my door.


Whenever I see them I remember:

I survived years without being seen,

Only to reappear in the pages of my life

Having lived off the glue that holds me together,

Defying the walls built around my rightful home,

And I thank them, smiling at their ability to flash

In and out of sight whenever they choose.





Gnosis, 12 AM, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Gnosis, 12 AM


Jennifer Angelina Petro



A deer stepped from the side of the house

As I sat in my car talking to a friend on the phone.


It stopped, trying to place my voice in the darkness.


I told my friend what was happening

And ended the call.


I met its eyes, the moon leaned in.


After a moment, the deer stomped one front hoof

On the stone walkway, much like a horse would do,

And disappeared into the night.


It occurred to me as I sat looking at its after image:

I too move in and out of the shadows,

I too pause to observe that which I don’t understand,

I too attempt to place my voice in the darkness,

I too have ways of telling the world—I might be quiet

And some might say, timid—but I too can stomp my foot

And disappear never to be seen again.