The Stone Ledge, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

The Stone Ledge

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

The slant of light upon the grass

Where tattered tapestries of autumn leaves

Rise and fall, reveals the bones

Of a long since dead bird.

 

How is it I never noticed it before?

How is it I never stopped to grieve the leaving

Of this winged being?

 

Oh, I am busy, I know, but I do

Almost always look down when I walk,

So why?  Why did I not see?

 

Perhaps before it died I could have

Done something to help it live, take

It to a sanctuary or aviary,

Perhaps, at very least, I could have given

It a proper burial.

 

Now its bones, brittle, air-gone,

Lie in a little heap, wings fanned out

Into forever.

 

There is no going back.

There is no back to go back to.

However, there is a point of no return.

 

The way ahead is dark, empty

Of sky and wind, the way ahead

Is bones revealed in autumn,

The way ahead is wings spread

Without sky, without the holy

Uplifting.

 

I turn, bend close, go ahead

And lift the dead bird in my hands,

Carry it to the stone ledge, retrieve

A garden shovel, dig, let my nose run,

Place the skeleton down as gently

As I possibly can, return the earth,

Bless the leaving, cover the hope

Of ever flying again.

 


 

 

 

 


 




Hopelessness Fogging, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Hopelessness Fogging
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 
Ravens gather in the spring oak,
Waiting, staring down;
Day after day they descend
Into the budding branches
Until their gathering becomes a flock
And their flock a swarm;
When they sense hopelessness
Fogging through my bones in my room,
As one they open the cloaks of their wings,
Drift to the ground,
And move—one bobbing, black, cawing sea
Marching towards my door.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 





When There is Nowhere to Turn, I Find Myself Surrounded by the Moon and Her Messengers of Light, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

When There is Nowhere to Turn
I Find Myself Surrounded by the Moon and Her Messengers of Light
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

moon

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–
Look—
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:
“You.”
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.


 

 

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Going Through the Motions

Going Through the Motions
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

Fake it till you make it, they say.
I’ve been faking it for the better part
Of forty-seven years,
The rest has been out and out lies
Scattered through fleeting moments
Of a deep awareness of the oneness of things.
I am trying now, more than ever
To go through the motions of living
Because the motions of dying
Would hurt too many people.
Yet every living movement I make is hollow
And empty like a brainless robot riddled with rust.
I shave, clean my room, I look at you
And I write these words, I even gaze long moments
At flowers and roots of trees,
I walk yet I do not feel my steps,
I lie in bed yet I do not feel my weight,
And it isn’t so much a wind is blowing through me—
It is more I am not even here, not even a shell,
More of a ghost–a living, breathing ghost.
And I do not know when I crossed over
Into dying while living. I have tried so hard
To push through, to simply be,
To tell you the truth of my journey,
And yet I can slip my hand through my own body,
The mirror reflects the wall behind where I think
I stand. I want to tell you something beautiful,
I want to give you bushels of hope,
I want to tell you to never look away from the light
Or the darkness, I want to tell you to never refuse an embrace,
Or to never give up, yet I am faking it, so I truly do not know
If what I am telling you means anything at all.
Yet I am here. Going through
The motions, the way waves go through
The ocean, the way wind
Goes through
The curtains,
The way space
Goes through
My eyes,
The way time
Goes through
My life,
The way the end of the road
Goes through, straight through
To the other side
Of heaven.


Owl

Owl
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

Somewhere
In the night trees
You ask the question
While at the same time
Bragging that you know
The answer.
And you glide
Around our houses,
Drift through the moonlight
Over our backyards,
Confident in your silent wings,
With the night
Coursing through your bones
With sheer joy
Above us all.

I lie awake
Listening.
When I am finally able
To sob the same question
Into the darkness
I am racked with dread,
And I frantically try to avoid
The turn of your head,
Desperately try to blend in
With the surrounding shadows,
Wildly try to pretend
I have not been left out in the open—
And so I run, or I freeze,
Hell-bent on avoiding the talons
You close around those
Who do not know
The answer.


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