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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Birthday Verse

Birthday Verse
Joseph Anthony Petro

Dream into the day
Of roads and rivers
And paths winding
Through sleepy woods,
And fields draped with butterflies
And honeybees, and time,
And a summer evening blessed
With cricket songs and a carnival of fireflies.
Keep these things, tuck them away
In the pockets of your life.
They are yours forever.
And then awaken.
Awaken into the joy
Of discovering the purpose
You were created for,
And be yourself—
Full of treasure, full
Of blessings, full
Of an emptiness never meant
To be filled—an emptiness
That sings: I am a river
And I am a fountain,
And I am the day,
And I am your life.
Share me with the world.


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Christmas 2014

Christmas, 2014
Joseph Anthony

Christmas, 2014


On this eve of Herod’s wrath
Surround yourself with animals
And shepherds, stars, and fragrant gifts
From the earth; find the lowly places
And give birth to death.


Let the memories of trauma
Sink and sift through root and bone,
Hidden wells and sleeping seeds,
Let them die in silent peace,
And in the holy silence of bearing witness
And affirmation, transformation
And regeneration. Let them die
In the roar of trees trampling through valleys
Of sorrow to lift up the child and adopt the child,
and keep it safe as long as it wants, as long as it needs.


On this eve of Joseph’s dreams
And trudging over roadless sand,
Find the star, any star, and go, Egypt awaits,
Land of Ra and Isis, and sacred geometry
Of hieroglyphs and feather scales.
Go, and hold innocence
As never before—bring a sword and pocketfuls
Of stones, do whatever it takes to say:
Tonight innocence will be
Kept safe and cherished above all things,
And all life will be honored, and all beings
And faiths, all people and creatures,
All elements and angels, devils
And waterfalls, ponds, and lilies,
all stumblings and dancings,
All things seen and unseen,
Will be bathed in starlight and wrapped
In swaddling clothes.


On this eve of the saddest story ever told
Of a parent sacrificing his only child
To cover up for his own mistakes,
And letting scores of other children die
In its place,
On this eve of nevermore,
The child is king and queen alone
By virtue of its innocence—holy, exalted,
Full of wonder and grace,
Magnified and full of laughter.
The child born tonight shall never know
The pain of being separated from itself
Or the being abandoned to die while living.
It will be whole.
Saving only itself.
And the unity of all things
That echoes as a result
Will ring throughout the inner landscape of the soul
Setting fire to the imagination
And stream out of Egypt like a lion,
not forgetting its heritage and upbringing,
But to embrace the place that kept it safe
And call itself privileged to have been hidden
Those years in the land of pyramids and sphinxes.
And on this silent night, this holy night,
This raging night divine,
The child will be safe and sound,
and sleep in the tree of life,
like a baby owl, waiting to fly.

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