By That I Mean, Praise
Jennifer Angelina Petro
Take the time to look,
With all reverence and wonder,
At the elegant curling folds of the purple iris,
Or its perfectly formed concave inner trinity,
Or at the yellow daffodils
Declaring spring from their ruffled trumpets,
Or at the cherry blossom petals
Snowing into the wind—
Every curl, every trumpet, every petal
Is different from all the rest.
Exalt the vastness of variety.
Why limit the god of possibilities?
What exactly are you afraid of?
At least try to study—and by that, I mean
How each and every buttercup
Holds a different piece of the sun,
How each and every helicopter seed
Whirling from the maple tree
Has its own fingerprint,
How each and every pink dogwood blossom
Looks like a different pink nun lying on her back
Singing to the blue mantle of the sky.
If you won’t invest the time, then do not
Try and take away the dignity of differences
And sweep them under the rug of easy things to say.
Nearly all the violence in the world
Stems from the delusion that sameness
Is the goal, that sameness is somehow
Ordained by the almighty, that somehow,
Sameness means complete security,
That somehow sameness brings calm.
Yes, if we cut each other on the hand
We both bleed red. Look into my eyes
Before you draw the blade across my skin.
If you truly saw yourself then you would put the blade away.
These bodies, these genders, these multiplicities
Of singing voices, are not a threat
To your whiteness or religion—
They are revelations of a power so great,
So vast, that it gave birth even to you.
Stand firmly in your faith–trust the providence of your god,
For we are here—this endless field of wild flowers—
Swaying in the sun, we are here announcing
The god beyond the books, we are here
Proclaiming the glory of medley, we are here
To enunciate the one root holding us all together—
The one root of the right, and the majesty
To exist in this boundless, unending hymn of praise.