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.









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.