Surrendering to Hunger, A Sort of Ode to Red Bell Peppers, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Surrendering to Hunger,

A Sort of Ode to Red Bell Peppers


Jennifer Angelina Petro



Green crowned, red as blood,

trying hard to be symmetrical

and beautifully failing,

the bell pepper sits on the cutting board

of the cook’s devotion.


Gut to seed.  The knife’s whisper

sings hollow through chambers

that fit so perfectly

in the palm of the hand.


From within, the sweet smell

rises, first to the nose, and then

to the eyes, and then

to the hands.


When the halves open,

a little theater of red drapery

reveals itself, like a ghost

lifting its arms, offering treasures

strung from gauzy curtains, like

clusters of little, waxing gibbous moons.


Both the cook, and the pepper,

surrender to hunger—

one to be lifted up and devoured,

the other to bow their head and eat.


The flavors of tin-laced blood and earth,

hum in the mouth a glistening

forgiveness, of which, there is nothing

to forgive, but still,

it feels that way, as body becomes

body, as life becomes life,

sliced into little moments

of edible wonder.

































On Being Held, an Ode in Prose to the Common Chair

On Being Held
An Ode in Prose to the Common Chair
Joseph Anthony Petro


We do trust falls every time we sit down in a chair. It is similar when we flop down on a bed, except in the case of the bed, we see the surface we are about to fall on. With a chair, our subconscious might maybe, maybe notice for a millisecond where the body is going—however, for all intents and purposes, we simply drop ourselves into the chair, and rarely, if ever, imagine crashing to the floor. We just suddenly renounce our verticality and allow ourselves to fall and be held in a uniquely folded position. Sometimes we lower ourselves slowly and let the chair rock us as we doze off after reading a few lines from our favorite book. We waive our right to gravity when we sit in a chair. We resign our mobility, and simply stop, trusting the chair will do its humble task of holding our butts no less, and supporting our backs. And aside from an occasional creak, chairs hardly ever complain. Yet there they are–ordinary servants in ordinary moments, standing at the ready for when we relinquish our desire to do it alone. Chairs are there when we collapse, yielding to the pressure of living, succumbing to the fatigue of grief, or to the deep relief of gratitude. Chairs are a steadying force when we let our guard down or lose our way. They let us fall only so far, keeping us from sprawling across the floor. They are as complete an image for faith in the care of God as any can be. Chairs, like God, want us to take them for granted. It’s what they live for. They want us to have perfect faith in their ability to set things right if we would only let them. “Come, sit down,” the friend says after we’ve heard the trajectory-changing news. And so we do, allowing ourselves to wilt in the chair, like a wounded bird being healed in the hands of God.