My Poems Speak to the Living and the Dead, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

My Poems Speak to the Living and the Dead


Jennifer Angelina Petro



My poems speak

To the living

And the dead.

Spirits lingering nearby

Hear my words

And start dancing;

Ghosts feel them blow thru

Like calming winds

Or billowing storms

Depending on how tethered

To place they are.

Spirits send out resonances

To meet these resonances

Even if they’re read in your head—

After all, skulls and skin

Are no barrier to spirits

Longing to be influenced and

To influence.  My poems


Speak to streams of time,

Carrying ships bearing autumn trees,

My poems speak to the clouds

Who carry them across the sea,

My poems speak to roots and wings

And burrow like cicada nymphs

Only to rise up fully mature-winged-voice-throwers,

My poems speak to the rivers,

Polishing rocks and stones, and smoothing over

Fallen trees, my poems

Caress the legs of frogs and kiss the lips of deer,

My poems speak to the souls

Of infants and elders, my poems

Speak to the living and the dead.



A moment,

Hold it loosely, much like

A hummingbird holds its hovering

Over the trumpet flower,

And speak these words,

Speak your words,

And set your whole being

And everything around you

Thrumming, like

A chord

Of joy.








The Burial, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Jennifer Angelina Petro



The spirits gathered around my bed
Hooded, cloaked in darkness,
Arms like terrible branches
Grasping and hungry.
They wanted the child
I was holding, and yet I
Was only a child myself,
Unable to protect myself
Or the child from their frenzied hunger.
And yet they wanted the child.
And in the blackness of that midnight,
In the utter aloneness of that moment,
As the spirits tore at my arms,
I wouldn’t give them what they wanted.
I held on to the child.
But not out of heroics.
For the child I held was already dead.
And I simply wouldn’t give her up.
I wouldn’t. I couldn’t. And my life
Became a shrine to this baby,
This baby dead from as far back
As I can remember.
And just as the spirits from the darkness
Surrounded me, and just as I sometimes feel like
I have become one of them,
The spirit of that baby lives
And guides my every movement.
I cannot bring the child back
But I can live in her honor,
And bury her at the roots
Of the Tree of Life, believing
She will rise again, transfiguring
However she will into my life
And yours, informing us all, like
Breath, like a garden, like morning, like
The wide open sky.


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Truer Than True, A Poem For the Earth

Truer Than True
A Poem for the Earth
Joseph Anthony

Truer Than True

Roots are upside down trees
Spreading into vast, dark sky.
A sky thick with loam
That loves to give way to shovels and tillers,
A sky packed with clumps
Of cumulous clay,
A sky studded with the constellations
Of rocks and bone,
A sky woven with hidden rivers
And jubilant, Gordian worms,
A sky populated by sleeping cicada nymphs,
Burrowing rabbits, and moles
That tunnel blindly with dirt in their whiskers,
A sky punctuated with light-hearted seeds
And heavy, densely packed bulbs and tubers.
Yet, in the end, what is
This terra firma sky?
What is this rich, moist soil
That smells so heavenly?
What is it the roots grasp and let go of
The earth, the soil, this stuff the rocks and bones,
Rivers and creatures all subsist in stories. It’s all stories
Building up over scrolls of millennia,
Libraries of centuries, composing,
Revisioning, edited by graves
And buried treasures, frackers,
And coal mines, wells and chasms
Of underground mountains yet to be born,
Only to dissolve again into
Infinitesimal grains, like
So many syllables dropped
From the whispered lips
Of bards, minstrels, and children,
And those who die face down
In the mud. Stories.
That’s what roots are surrounded by
And nibble on and assimilate.
And all of them truer than true.
Like flakes of mica, snowflake obsidian,
Fossils and caskets, tears and keys, arrowheads
And shards of pottery. True like rivers
That astonish us for finding ways
To flow underground and soak roots
With slathering kisses. True, like
Underground lakes surrounded
By rainbow-tinted cathedrals.
True like blood slowly seeping
Into cool, autumn leaves.
Stories are the soul of the earth,
The soul of sod and the ground of being,
Stories are the stuff of earth,
The very ground that lifts us through
Our every step and sorrow, our every
Joy and blunder, our every wandering
And seeking, our every discovery
And revelation. And they nourish
And compose us, form and speak us,
Sing and cry us, lament and celebrate us.
And each one of us, each and every
One of us, born from the soil,
Born from the ground,
This endlessly mothering earth,
Is a walking story, a living, breathing,
Story, stumbling, dancing, rising
And falling, and each one of us,
Each and every one,
Is truer than true.