Because You Never Know, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Because You Never Know


Jennifer Angelina Petro



When the welcoming angel

Will spirit you away into the folds

Of the other world,

Who exactly you are becoming,

Why you love sunsets and stars,

What compassion grows in you

For the secret sorrows that haunt

Another’s heart, like lost echoes

In a cavern of lakes and rivers,

Where your reverence leads

And how it gets there,

How your cells build one atop

The other while you walk

Without spilling you to the ground.


It’s best to just go about your days

Singing, breathing with your whole body,

And adventuring into the questions

Until the word never finally falls away, like

The paper and string of an unexpected gift

Opened by a child who finds inside

What they’ve always wanted.







Eucharist, By Jennifer Angelina Petro



Jennifer Angelina Petro



The bread blooms on the tongue,

The wine rivers through the body,

These provisions are more than enough

Until the other unimaginable communion takes place,

Believe the slow road outwards, leads

Inevitably inwards into His arms,

We needn’t worry about who we are

Or the shadows we trail behind,

Everyone—no matter what they have done

Or what they have failed to do

Is welcome, and everyone, no matter who they are

Approaches that table, trembling, like a bride.






I Think So, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

I Think So


Jennifer Angelina Petro



It’s possible, isn’t it?

To walk through the dark field,

Brushing your hands over the tops

Of the barley, under the stars

And the patient moon;

To let go, while at the same time

Hold on for dear life,

As thoughts flood,

And fear lifts you

Out of your body

To a safer place

Among the trees;

To hear the owl’s question

And to answer in the affirmative,

Declaring you rightfully exist

Among the fireflies, the crickets,

And the turning world;

To see the falling star

And to wish nothing more

Than for the owl to find food;

To step into the river, without

Succumbing to the cold,

And to reach down, lifting water

Over your head and say:

“This is my beloved child,

With whom I am well pleased.”






Reflections of Summer Ghosts, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Reflections of Summer Ghosts


Jennifer Angelina Petro




I know there is

So much

To be grateful for—

I know.


And yet, this

Nothingness hangs

In the humidity, like

Cicada song,

And I drift through

The day, lost

As the wind.




Cicada song swells and thins

Through the wide sky,

Sunflowers turn their faces

To the ground,

Wheat awaits the approaching windrower,

Summer turns in her gauzy shift

Towards the shimmering horizon,

Trees gradually light their lamps,

And somewhere, below, a ghost moves

Looking exactly like me.







What to Do, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

What to Do


Jennifer Angelina Petro



What is time but a delaying of eternity?

Make friends with the animals within you

Before they’re gone.  After all,

Who will be there when the door appears

And the Word comes?


Turn away from the pride of intelligence,

Turn away from caring what anyone else thinks

About how you’re following the long trail

Of hooves and padded feet–


Walk, or be carried, just keep watching

Where the animals’ dark eyes are looking

With all the wild devotion of those

Aching to be touched by the one

Who understands.






Why the Lifting? By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Why the Lifting?


Jennifer Angelina Petro




Because it’s there—

The chilled withering,

The drying out of leaves

And petals, the detachment

And the lifting into spiraling

Winds, the wishing it would

Never end, the laughing

At that wish, the seeing

Gold and yellow, and all shades

Of red torching across the hillside

And over the rooftops,

Because it’s there—the golden

Boats in the slowing creek—

Because it’s there—the apples

Blooming from where every blossom

Bloomed—the cinnamon and the clove,

The orange peel, and the nutmeg—

Because one must let the sweetness

Of the end warm the insides against

The cold outside—because the hearth

Must be kindly again, because it will

End, because winter unfurls, engulfs,

Encloses—because, of course, we know

Spring sleeps and will rise again—

In this moment—however and nevertheless—

It’s there—the detachment and lifting

Into the spiraling wind.







The Other Rose, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

The Other Rose


Jennifer Angelina Petro



Unravel the fragrant mass carefully.

Open it, like an orange, letting the petals fall

In a heap in your hands.  Remember this moment

Forever.  The secret of secrets

Is not in the pages of holy books.

It is not in places of worship.

The center of the rose is nearer to the thorns

Than to the blossom.  Nearer to the effort

Than to the bliss.  Nearer to the heart

of your devotions than to the goal.

And never will you find it

In the other rose.






Untitled, by Jennifer Angelina Petro



Jennifer Angelina Petro



Deep in the drapery of the day lily

A dead bee lies curled in a pool of nectar.

Why did it die in such a sapid sacristy

Enshrined in golden silk?


Perhaps it will be the same for us

As we amble down the tunneled curtains of our lives,

Past the honeyed stalks of desire,

Searching for a numinous center?


Will our pouches grow heavy with the precious dust we collect?

Will we too begin stumbling through the drooping folds

As the sides of the amphitheater start to close?

Will we be so dazzled and drunk by the prospects of more

That we don’t notice we are slipping away from ourselves,

Drowning in sweetness, unable to turn back?






The Path, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

The Path


Jennifer Angelina Petro



Each snowflake carries within

Its center a piece of light.

It shines for a moment, like

A little star in a vast galaxy

Drifting in unseen winds,

Until the sun desires its company,

And then, full of surprise

And trembling, the cold sheathe

Dissolves, and the light turns

Upon hearing its name,

And flies upwards.





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.