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.