Where I Belong, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Where I Belong

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Sitting in my one room efficiency—a place I have come

To call, my burrow, I find myself

Looking back at memories of my life

And what I see are little trails—

Soundless except my mind gives them sound—

Little trails that veer off into woods

Or branch out into other trails–

They show events and conversations—

Happening right there in the path—

People emerge from the tall grass,

Say their lines, then disappear once again back

Into the field, and as I think of these memories

Some rise around bends, like mountains,

Others like bodies of water, and still others

Like wide valleys of snow, and I realize

I am not really looking back, but forward—

Looking for where the trails lead, if in fact

They lead anywhere—

For the very idea of going from here to there—

Of starting out and then winding up someplace—

Of following the trajectory of an event–

Suddenly seems effortlessly silly.

 

Where am I going?  What gives me the right

To go even imagine I am going anywhere?

Why do I suppose that this life leads somewhere

Or to some time? Why do I need to know

It has a happy ending?

 

Sitting here, alone, in the silence of my books,

I stop roaming the trails and foothills

Of memory, and instead, write this down–

And suddenly the answer appears before me—

Ink spilling form forward leaving letters as trails

And I am full of the emptiness that I have to

Go anywhere.

 

Here, with you,

Is where I belong.

 

 

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Flood

Flood
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

Days, weeks, months, and years
Can go by without a flood. Oh, I know
The river’s there, and the storms,
And the groundwater saturates so much
Of the foundations, but the floods
Are something else entirely.
It’s like this: I wake in the middle of the night
And without warning the water is already
Spilling over my bed, and even as I wipe my eyes
Trying to make sense of what is happening,
I go under–my chest and guts fill with bone-
Crushing pressure; the ceiling disappears and the walls
Close in and there’s nothing but dark water
And a faraway distant night sky—way up there somewhere,
And if I don’t call out for help no lifeline appears,
And the walls close in to the very edges of my bed,
And the water keeps rising and I can’t swim
And I can no longer see and some part of me dies
As the night sky fills my blank, staring eyes.
And then, I am floating, gone, part of the nothingness
That comes with deluges like this.
And little by little, over days, weeks, months, and years
The walls will slip back and the water recede through the cracks
And into the basement and through the ground–
Soaking the surrounding roots. And I will suddenly
Be able to see, and water will gush from my eyes and mouth
And I will gag and cough and grab my stomach and chest
And retch. And somehow, somehow, somehow,
I will step from my bed and it will be morning
And the sun will be shining, and I will begin moving
Through my life, water logged, heart-soddened
With terror, mind drenched with ‘why’
And I will eventually make it, things will dry
As I move in the light, and I will go around
With secret sorrow dripping from my every funny word,
Until days, weeks, months, or years later, there’s another flood
And I will wake in the middle of the night
Water spilling over my bed