Mondegreen, By Jennifer Angelina Petro



Jennifer Angelina Petro



The wind said something

that mixed with the hum

of bees and distant lawn mowers.

What it said may have sifted through.

It may have touched my ever-listening.


Standing on the road, searching

the sky, I watch the way

trees sway and wave,

and a pause descends, like

a wish, except palpable, like

a sigh.


The message means

to find my spirit—wind woven

with wind. It seeks me, like

the fragrance of freesia seeking

the bee.


There is work to be done.  I know

that much.  What it is

is a ribbon drifting, lifting away.


So many missteps have befallen

the road.  So many turns missed.

So many dead ends, which, in all

actuality, do not exist.  Nevertheless,

I strive to listen, to get it right. To breathe

what the wind said, hoping

the message will nuzzle its way

through my body, caressing

desire, and once again guide my steps

to many unexpected












Surrendering to Hunger, A Sort of Ode to Red Bell Peppers, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Surrendering to Hunger,

A Sort of Ode to Red Bell Peppers


Jennifer Angelina Petro



Green crowned, red as blood,

trying hard to be symmetrical

and beautifully failing,

the bell pepper sits on the cutting board

of the cook’s devotion.


Gut to seed.  The knife’s whisper

sings hollow through chambers

that fit so perfectly

in the palm of the hand.


From within, the sweet smell

rises, first to the nose, and then

to the eyes, and then

to the hands.


When the halves open,

a little theater of red drapery

reveals itself, like a ghost

lifting its arms, offering treasures

strung from gauzy curtains, like

clusters of little, waxing gibbous moons.


Both the cook, and the pepper,

surrender to hunger—

one to be lifted up and devoured,

the other to bow their head and eat.


The flavors of tin-laced blood and earth,

hum in the mouth a glistening

forgiveness, of which, there is nothing

to forgive, but still,

it feels that way, as body becomes

body, as life becomes life,

sliced into little moments

of edible wonder.

































Autopoiesis, by Jennifer Angelina Petro



Jennifer Angelina Petro



They come of themselves.

Into, and unto, and out of

Themselves.  They are

Hidden scryers peering into

My soul’s dark water.

My pen their whisper vessel,

Scream vessel, sobbing, joy,

River vessel.  My mind

The bramble-snaggled thicket

They choose to flower through.

I do not know why I am

Honored such as this.  How it is

They direct themselves

Through the broken guttering.

What I do know is that the brokenness

Is the lock, their autopoiesis

The key, their touching

The gateway that opens

Into paradise.






Occulted, by Jennifer Angelina Petro



Jennifer Angelina Petro



The chimeric afternoon

Lifts its head, as I venture out

For the first time in three days.

I mask my face against the belladonna air,

Each step feeling modestly feral,

Each sifted breath more defiant than the last.

It occurs to me, as the swift, April wind

Spindles through my hair:

There is nothing I wouldn’t give

To lie with you in the cherry-blossom-petaled grass,

Hands clasped, holding on

Through an uncertain, occulted future.

What I wouldn’t give

To Netflix with you in bed,

Blankets warm, lights off. If only you were here.

If only you existed.

What I wouldn’t give to be vivified by a kiss.

As it is, each step slows in the miasmic

Walk back to what I call home.

I climb the steps, turning to look for you

One last time. I open the door. I close the door.

I walk into my spell-bound apartment

And sit on the couch.

I do not look out the window,

Passed the magnolia tree,

To the sidewalk below,

To see if you spirited home with me. Instead,

I remove my mask, I close my eyes,

And merge back into the sonorous silence.





Easter Silence, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Easter Silence


Jennifer Angelina Petro



I wonder if when

Jesus sat up in the tomb

On the third day, he was

Pulled suddenly alive

By a catching breath—

A breath surprising even

Unto himself?

Did he sit for little

Eternities listening to

Silence—or had

Silence scattered at the sound

Of the waiting angels

Opening their wings?

Whatever happened

To the sand his feet touched

As he stood?  Is the dust

Still in the mouth

Of the cave?

Did the little rocks and pebbles

That trailed behind the hem

Of his robe dragging over

The ground, one day become


For all I know, the tomb

Was always empty—ever not

Gestating a dead man.

Perhaps neither it nor he ever

Existed—which seems most likely given

Today.  This Easter silence

Finds us isolating in different parts

Of one, great cave—

Behind make-shift masks

Afraid to ever breathe






Babalon’s Army, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Babalon’s Army


Jennifer Angelina Petro



Children shout children from flung open windows,

Armies forge invoking demons, hands steady

On pulled-back bows.


Spit curses, falchions sharp-shooting sparks.

Mercy inhaled, shouted Desperta Ferro! slams echoes

Through backyards, and skulls, and car-lined streets.


Try as you might, you cannot hide

Face down to your phones,

Try as you might you cannot hide

The evidence of what you have done

And what you have failed to do.

Vengeance opens its terrible maw—

Scream, thunder, scream.


Bones will snap, heads be crushed,

Blood revelations will bloom on your walls.

The children will set fire to your beds

While you sleep, while you nightmare.

Stars will fall, skylines will be razed, houses burned,

The reassembled dead will shake off the dirt

And grin grins of sickles and shivs.


Your children’s eyes follow your every move,

Guns trained, triggers pulled, arrows sharp,

Swords aloft, war-paint black as night.


Uncrouch, hands up, heads down, and run.


Slaughter is coming for you.






On Singing and Tears, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

On Singing and Tears


Jennifer Angelina Petro


Have you ever started singing a little, made up song, chant, melody–whispered, out loud, softly, and have tears spontaneously start streaming down your face–rivers of soul expression–without trying–without the song being sad or the melody melancholy–just singing–and then tears cascading–flowing up/from within–it’s the knowing the tears are there–it’s the experiencing the soul simply knowing she needs/wants to reveal her magic, healing waters–even when we’re not conscious that something needs addressing, or even healed, or not even in need of healing–just tears–just quiet joyous tears–longing tears, devotion tears, wondrous tears,mysterious-not-needing-a-reason tears–singing tears–drawn from the moon tears, upwelling of invisible, underground rivers. Little songs–little songs important to you–songs that come through/with you–songs you manifest into the universe–and then–tears–tears streaming, streaming, down your face–from out of the corners of your eyes, framing your beautiful face–a self-baptism of: “I am a person–I am a wonder–I am part of a flowing current of love weaving through all things. I am part of the liquidity of vulnerability and power.” Trust the soul. The soul knows when to cry, when to weep, when to mingle songs with tears–when to blend them like sea and shore, like horizon and sky, like now and forever—because you are holy–because you are. You are. You are. Holy.