Yesterday a moment passed me by at the flea market.
She moved through the bangles, baubles, silks, bric-a-brac, knives, and rings.
I saw her and she me. In fact she turned to look at me full in the face,
And I know she was just about to tell me that every wonderful thing
Anyone has ever said about me is true—that I am a powerful force for good in this world.
We looked at each other as people passed by eating funnel cakes, ignoring us.
And just as I moved towards to her to ask her for a single, simple embrace,
She suddenly began to pull away—as if reeled backwards by some cruel fisherman,
And as she vanished, and as I began to push through people to chase after her,
She called out–I swear I heard her call out over the sounds of the many angry voices:
“Remember,” she called, “remember just how important you are. It’s all true.”
And at the last second, as I nearly caught her to pull her off whatever terrible hook that was in her,
She stretched out her hand, and I fell forwards trying to grasp it, missing it by inches.
Then she was gone–swallowed up into nothing, never to be seen again.
As I sat down right there, with people having to suddenly navigate a person sitting in the middle of the floor, I began to weep. After a few minutes, out of nowhere, a little girl, holding her mother’s hand, stopped and said to her mother, “Mommy look, someone is sitting on the floor crying.”
“Ignore her,” her mother said trying to pull her along, but the girl stood stock still, forcing her mother to stop. And then, the little girl let go of her mother’s hand, and leaned in close to me and said, “Lady, what’s the matter? Why are you crying?”
I looked up at her. Her face was full and wise, and powdered with sugar from eating some treat—probably a funnel cake, I thought. And then I said: “Sweet one, I almost touched a moment I’ve always wanted to touch—or that I’ve always wanted to have touch me. She was just here, little girl, and we got close—so close, but then she got dragged away and disappeared, and I am afraid I will never find her ever again, nor she me. That, little sweet one, is why I am sitting here in the middle of the floor crying, like a baby.”
“Oh,” said the girl.
“Come ON,” said the mother, reaching down trying to grab her by the arm.
“In a minute,” she said, shrugging her mother away.
“It’s OK,” I said to her, you can go with your mother. I’ll be alright.”
“What did she look like?” she asked.
“Oh,” I said, “she was beautiful. More beautiful than anyone or anything I have ever seen.”
“What was she wearing?”
“Oh,” I said, “she was wearing this flowing shift of white light that made her look like she was wearing heaven.”
“I see,” she said, and then stood up, for she had sat down across from me on the floor to conduct her little interview, much to her mother’s displeasure.
“Well,” she said, reaching up for her mother’s hand, “I hope you find her again.”
“Thank you,” I laughed, “you’re very kind.”
“Let’s go,” said her mother, and then to me, “Get up lady. Look around you. Do you see anyone else sitting around crying in the middle of the floor because they missed their moment? Get up. You’re in the way.”
And as they walked into the crowd, I looked after them and, to my amazement they were both wearing flowing shifts of white light that made them look like they were wearing heaven. How had I not noticed that before? I wondered. And as I stood, I staggered, and saw everyone was wearing flowing shifts of white light, and as I braced myself against my fears, I righted my back, stood tall, and began walking again full of wonder, my own shift of white light trailing behind me, like the train of a bridal gown. It was everything I could do to refrain my hands from touching every face I saw. It was everything I could to not ask each and every person if I could hug them. It was everything I could do not to sing. And then, as I continued moving through the sea of white light, there, right next to me, holding my hand, was my moment. She was laughing, beckoning me to look around us, and as I did, I laughed too, and knew in my heart that everything wonderful anyone ever said about me was true.
I wrote this poem two years ago today. I had forgotten about it. I am glad I found it though. I want to live like this again.–Jennifer
Jennifer Angelina Petro
When you stop
And think about it,
The idea is absurd:
Beetles that light up.
They call it.
I call it utterly and phantasmagorically
Along the river banks
Of the jungles of Malaysia,
Their flashing lights;
In the town of Donsol
In the Philippines,
Fireflies stay around
All year, coexisting
With the locals, like
In the Great Smoky Mountains
Fireflies have been seen blinking in unison.
If you are a believer
In doubt and darkness,
If you partake of the white bread
Of theorized negativity,
If you harbor any spiritual misgivings
Then stop and think about this
Occurring in backyards and fields
Around the world, better yet
Stop and see it for yourself.
And once you do, ask yourself:
Can I really keep up this charade?
Can I really keep myself
From swooning with devotion and wonder?
Why not allow these little,
Avant-garde angels lift you,
Illuminate you, and save you
From the cold, dry emptiness
Of faith in things untrue?
Try for your own sake
And for the sake of the future:
Stand on the edge
Of a cornfield at night
In deep July, or find a field, backyard, or woods
Humming with mystery, and simply be
A witness to the dazzling carnival
Happening in the tree tops,
Skimming the dark grass, bobbing
Up and down in the cool, moist air, like
Strings of moving green Christmas lights.
See these little beetles with their lovely
Blinking bellies, and allow yourself
To blossom, like
A night gladiolus, sending the fragrance
Of your newly found faith
Into the world;
Let your life shine
So that others may stand in awe
Of the delicate, extravagant work
Of the Divine.
When There is Nowhere to Turn
I Find Myself Surrounded by the Moon and Her Messengers of Light
Jennifer Angelina Petro
One morning, walking through the January forest,
I watched the path double back on itself and disappear.
One evening, sailing on an indigo ocean of questions,
I saw the horizon swallow itself whole, like a monster all stomach and mouth.
I too searched for brains, a heart, and a home,
And the yellow-brick road turned into rust.
Heaven has fallen from the sky like so many shot-down stars.
There is nowhere to turn that doesn’t lead to ghost towns and empty silos.
My aspirations get stuck in the trees, like shreds of shawls.
Angels’ wings have folded.
Smiles are rimmed in blood.
Embraces reach for me and miss, grasping themselves.
The time has come for whirlwinds and blizzards,
The time has come for floods, and bone-rattling thunder,
Look—the sun was just swallowed by a wolf—
Look—the bridges have all burst into flame–
The moon is growing fuller,
Taking over the darkness—
Look—she is pulling the sun from the belly of the wolf–
Look—she is stilling the thunder and plucking my prayers from the trees—
Look-she is unfolding the path and shaking out the horizon and spreading it afar, anew—
Look—she is picking up the fallen stars and hanging them back in their places—
Look—she is brushing the angels’ wings and rubbing their shoulders—
Look—she is wiping the bloody mouths, like
A mother wiping a child’s face—rough and tender, all at once–
Look—she is steadying me so I don’t duck or fall when the embraces come—
Look-she is gently scolding me to listen better to her messengers of Light called:
Look—she is lifting me, rocking me in the softest of breezes, singing,
And whispering runes and spells, affirmations, and ways through the dark,
And treasure maps and secret passageways through mountains and dungeons–
Her tears fall down her breasts, mixing with her milk as she lets me suckle
For as long as I need in the cradle of her light-filled, infinite arms.
All donations go towards my transition. Thank you. <3
This being transgender reminds me of what you must face;
People who haven’t thought of you for ages
Suddenly find themselves thinking of you and lamenting your arrival,
Others find you a fascinating anomaly in an otherwise endless summer
Of sameness and dreamy afternoons;
Others force themselves to stop thinking of you
With hopes of postponing an imaginary, apocalyptic winter,
Still others think about you so much they stop talking to you
And pretend you no longer exist, they fear
Your blazing changes will rub off on them,
They think your very appearance signals a heresy
That will send summer reeling—
Which it does–but not in distress does summer
Go tumbling through the leaves and out of town, it rolls on
Joyous of your presence and relieved
To finally be able to breathe fully and see spring’s children
For who they really are. And the heresy? It is there–
It signals the living fully what love stands for–
And that means comfort zones expanded,
Walls removed, and doors opened into the reality
Of the here and now, 2015.
I see your graceful letting go,
I see you casting gold with trembling fingers,
I see your swaying vulnerability against a stark blue sky,
And I know I let go far less gracefully,
I cling to what must be tossed away,
I flail about believing
There is nothing gold about me
To even bother sharing;
I begin believing those who can longer look at me
Or who dread how I will influence their children—
I know better though, I know they only fear
How I will influence them—how I will magically
Nudge them away from the summer
Of their inner, thinly-hidden discontent
And out into the blazing colors of enlightenment,
I know better, but I cling to brittle branches
So many people tell me they need time to be able to just see me,
Some still believe a death has occurred, and yet, here I stand in my autumnal truth.
You and I both know nothing dies when you arrive;
Summer cartwheels over the hills and warms
Another place happy to be free to think new thoughts,
The leaves you share feed the soil and fertilize the seeds of spring,
The harvest of apples feeds many with mulled sweetness,
And if they could only see you in my soul
And be awed at the revelation of color and the arrival
Of gold and my ability to finally stand in the fifth direction
Of my journey, with all of the certainty of wonder and hope
Of voyaging further into the sky, the streams, the purple mountains,
The heart of love, and the ground of being;
If they would only look in the mirror of their deepest fears—
And see love looking back at them,
And how the faces of spring infants and angels of flamenco
Gather around the edges of their vision, then maybe they would get it—
Their reflection looks like us and them—it looks like every single tree
To ever wave in the wind and sleep bathed in moonlight,
And just rest easy knowing we are not signaling the end
Of all that is warm and held sacred,
We are heralding the beginning of freedom,
We are taking the leaves of sacredness
And casting them where they truly belong–
Into an infinite sky of infinite variety.
After combing through
Layers of moist earth and mazes
Of roots, the cicada nymph
Blooms from the ground
And begins climbing
Seeing only sky,
Waving: “Come on,
You can do it!” And it climbs–
Eyes on the prize, heart pumping,
Wings tingling waiting for space
To unlatch and spread,
Voice still trapped in an ever
Thinning skin, confidence
Growing with every plunge
Of its hooks–higher
Until it suddenly stops
Pauses in time and space,
Unable to go even one more step
In its old clothes,
And then it gives birth unto itself,
Slowly sloughing off
Doubts and fears,
Never once losing track
Of the heaven awaiting
And the heaven of the moment,
And the heaven of simply opening
Itself to the sky,
And letting the song it has been
Composing for years soar
Through the summer trees
Announcing to all things
The truth of transformation,
The truth that we are all
Bound to change,
The truth that even the darkest time
Spent among roots and soil,
Leads to wings, leads
To open spaces, leads to becoming
Who you really are.
All donations go to keeping the Wonder Child Blog afloat and to my Transition. Thank you. Love, Jennifer
You see the opening
From which the wings
Unfurled swirling rainbows,
From which the champagne
Colored eyes saw a multitude
From that opening, from that
Wound that must have
Started like an insatiable
Itch, from that space
And focus of pain
Bloomed the song of summer,
Birthed a patient hider,
A thrower of voices,
A winged symbol
Of patience–stay underground
For as long as you need–
Seventeen years or forty-seven,
The roots, absorb moon-drenched
Waters, cloth yourself in earth
Until your back thrums,
Until your desires turn
Into grappling hooks
And you find yourself
Emerging from your own life–
Climbing towards what you want,
Until you can say, like me,
I am the walking opening,
I am the living wound,
I am the giving birth,
I am the one with rainbows
In my eyes, I am the one
Who sings deep into the sky
The story of a life lived
All donations go to keeping the Wonder Child Blog Afloat and my Transition.