The Way, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

The Way


Jennifer Angelina Petro

The seed,

The blossom,

The egg,

The wings,

The chrysalis,

The storm,

The spring,

The hands,

The voice,

The heart,

Covers and blankets,

Grief and rage,

The mind,

The memory,

The questions,

Faith and darkness,

Stories and galaxies,

The way and years,

Everything loosens

And gives way

To unfolding.







Donations go to food and medical expenses.  <3

You Win, a New Poem by Radiance Angelina Petro

You Win


Radiance Angelina Petro





I give.

You win.

Go ahead fireflies,

Dazzle your way in.

My heart is helplessly open.

Take me.

Lift me into the tree tops.

Carry me to states

Of unbridled wonder

On your armor-covered wings.

I am yours.

Shine in me.

However fleeting,

However small your lights,


The shell of darkness

I am becoming.

I surrender.


I give.

You win.






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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.




On God, Tightropes, and Wheelbarrows

On God, Tightropes, and Wheelbarrows
Joseph Anthony Petro


There’s this old story still going around
About a tightrope walker pushing a man
In a wheelbarrow across a tightrope
Suspended over Niagara Falls.
The story is supposed to illustrate
How we, if we truly have faith in God,
Need to get in the wheelbarrow
And allow ourselves to be pushed
Across the tightrope in the wheelbarrow.
Belief is thinking the tightrope walker can do it,
Faith is getting in the wheelbarrow.
Of course we’re all supposed to say:
“Well, that sounds hard, but yes, I’ll do it.
I want that kind of surrender-faith.”
May I give you my slant on this whole idea
Of wheelbarrows and tightropes, and Gods
That want us to do this sort of thing?
Any God that requires someone
To get in a wheelbarrow on a tightrope
And be pushed across, is not God.
Any God that tells Abraham to tie
His son to a rock and sacrifice him
Is not God. If he is, then join me up
With the local Atheist Society.
My God, works on the ground,
In a garden, on a bright, spring day.
My God doesn’t need me
To prove anything to him
Or anyone else. My God
Isn’t a performer of feats
Of audacity and sheer stupidity.
My God’s on the ground, working
In a garden, and one day (every day) says to me:
“Hey there, want a ride in the wheelbarrow?”
And I am free to get in or not. My faith
Is not tested one bit regardless
Of my answer. If I want to stay out of the wheelbarrow
That’s fine, I can putz around the garden
All day, all life, looking for bugs and rocks and other treasures,
And God will just wave every now and then
As he goes by and I can go over and show him
The praying mantis I found and he’ll say,
“Wow, that’s really cool. Now let it go.”
But for the sake of this discussion, let’s say I get in,
And God begins pushing the wheelbarrow,
And it’s still got a little dirt in it and I like that,
And the sides are hard and cold as I hold on tight,
And I like that too, it feels safe and solid,
And God pushes, slowly at first, but then
Picks up a little speed, and is soon
Dashing along the border of the garden
And the wind is blowing through my hair,
And I am laughing, and a kid again—
A kid the whole time, forever, in a wheelbarrow.
And maybe God keeps walking–slows
To a steady gate, and I drift to sleep,
And God, being God, just keeps walking
And pushing the wheelbarrow,
And whenever I choose, he stops,
Lets me push, and maybe even,
On real, heretical days, gets in himself
Lets me push, or at very least, give other people,
Other kids, rides around the garden.
Or maybe he gets in, and because he’s God
Can make the wheelbarrow go without
Anyone pushing it, and so we can both
Ride together, and I can allow myself
To sink into his arms as the wheelbarrow
Sails across the field, and I can stick my hands out
And brush the tall, passing grass, or the nodding
Sunflowers, and maybe the wheelbarrow can
Grow and grow and grow and fit
As many kids as want to get in.
That all sounds much better to me,
Than getting in a wheelbarrow, on a tightrope,
Over Niagara Falls, and being pushed across.



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Allowing Birdsong

Allowing Birdsong
Joseph Anthony Petro

There is a softness
In the pain
Just big enough
To crawl through
And cry, like
A baby.
There is a softness
In the pain
That opens
Just wide enough
To allow birdsong
To filter in.
There is a softness
In the pain
That you can
Sink down into
Without any thought
Or care of what anyone
Thinks or says or does,
Where you can surrender
Deeply into the coldness
That is a broken heart,
Knowing it will end,
It has to end. The pain
Cannot last forever.
And the softness–
The softness will gradually
Begin to radiate out
Encompassing things, like
Love, mercy, self-acceptance,
Determination, other people,
And the growing ability
To allow yourself
To be happy.


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A Living Bridge

A Living Bridge
Joseph Anthony

roots of trees 2

A Living Bridge

Right now, this very moment,
Roots spread vast interwoven networks
Of lace and hands held in intimate solidarity,
Fingertips touching in honest exploration,
And filaments gathering nutrients
From underground rivulets and raindrops,
And then, these divinely rooted roots, in their total,
Moist and cold darkness, allow light
To draw the sustenance, lift
The sustenance up through the body
In the slowest possible pulse of sweetness.
This is all happening beneath our feet
And our uncommon awareness. But know it now
And then do the same with your sorrows.
For your life depends on it,
And there are others in darkness,
Doing their best to hold on.
And there’s more:
Tress not only radiate below,
Expanding in darkness,
They radiate above, outstretched and planted
In sky, extracting nourishment from the surrounding sphere
Of influential light, drawing it in
Through their reaching and holy availability,
And then they transform their daily bread of sun
Into air for all living things.
Do the same with your joy.
With fragrant, open hands, share the wild fruits
Of self-awareness, and the colorful leaves
Of letting go into the moment,
And the sheer strength of being there,
Day in day out, steady and true.
Be a living bridge between below and above,
In the clear space of listening and speaking,
In the shared truth of existence sway
In jubilant wonder, dance
In the holy middle of being alive.

tree sycamore

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River of Grace

River of Grace
Joseph Anthony

River of Grace

Yesterday spills over into now, like
A perpetual fountain; tomorrow
Waves backwards, catching us up
In its unfolding tide of mystery.
Now branches tributaries in every direction
Regardless of where you focus
Or how, or which way you turn
Your attention—you’re standing
In water, or succumbing to flowing
And rivering, rushing and burbling,
Hushing and tumbling over and over
Gathering up yesterdays, like
So many fallen leaves,
Roaring towards tomorrow, like
A waterfall that ultimately resolves
Into stillness and reflection where you’re breathing,
Body dripping wet, no longer ashamed
Of the time spent in yesterday,
Or the time spent in tomorrow,
You’ll just be here, half drowned
In sorrow, half resurrected
In hope—here,
where there is no right way
to act a certain way.
Hold out your hands, time is flowing.
Make a beginning, bring eternity
To your waiting, trembling lips.

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