Over Trails of the Sea
A Collage Poem
Jennifer Angelina Petro
(Using words and phrases from “The Man Who Saw Tomorrow,
The Prophesies of Nostradamos, translated by Erika Cheetham, 1973, along with my own.)
Like a shipwreck trying to hold on
to the reef, I lean this way and that.
Sooner or later, you will see great changes—
that’s what they tell me, but my eyes
are open only to old fantasies and wishes.
Beyond the river, raised by land and sea,
The act has been done. Hidden in swampy marshes,
a monster is born, wild with hunger, and it knows my name.
It knows everything about me, knows I am trying
to see the shore through the mist, through the dark,
and he will wander far in his frenzy to find me.
And yet, even with the Rubicon uncertain,
a shadowy hope, which Providence scrounged
to sustain, rises, lifts my face to the sky. The light
is stupefying and marvelous—the flashes of fire—
I believe that in this night I have seen the sun,
while the monster waits—knows I am coming,
knows I have moved closer to freedom.
And then, my wings and feathers fall at my feet,
and I know I must now allow myself to be carried
safely through the sky by birds of the celestial palace,
high away from the monster that will forever dog my steps.
I know a serpent has been placed on the shore.
I know snakes surround the altar. I know
there will be rains and frosts. I know the documents
on which are written what I should do next
are enclosed in fish, and that the secrets
of my future are hidden in the heads of salmon,
and yet, over the trails of the sea, a way opens,
and I am placed gently down, brought
to rebirth at the fortified harbor,
where lighthouse lights come through thunder,
to welcome me home.