Turning In, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Turning In


Jennifer Angelina Petro





At night, when our bodies

Begin to slow down, and our eyelids

Become heavy, we turn in,

And our attention

Recedes from the senses,

And we move into ourselves and dream.

And we all know dreaming

Is just the soul saying what it wanted

During the day but couldn’t,

And as we are drawn inwards,

And our breathing drifts like it was meant to,

And we rescind control over our bodies,

And our lips part and our palms open,

And our arms go this way and that,

We begin catching z’s—the buzz

Of fluorescent lights becomes the buzz of bees

Making honey out of our disappointments,

The hum of the fan of our laptops

Becomes the hush of owl’s wings,

And we yield like this every day–

Every day we relinquish the tenuous hold

We have on our lives and surrender

To the darkness living within us—

The selfsame darkness that holds the voice of desire–

Speaking like a lighthouse to approaching ships,

Speaking like the hummingbird daring us

To try and follow where it goes,

Speaking like moonlight on the river,

Speaking like our soul bowing down before us

Aching for us to listen.









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Joseph Anthony Petro


Today as I prayed, I imagined standing
Near a sandy beach, and as I did, fear vanished
And so did anger, resentment, jealousy, and shame.
All that was left was an ocean
Of sorrow, and an ocean of joy,
And I am convinced in this moment that the soul
Knows only these two emotions: joy and sorrow.
The rest of them belong to the mind.
And the body has the blessing (or curse,
As the case may be) of feeling them all.
Of course fear will crop up
Any minute now, or some ancient shame
Will appear out of nowhere
And turn my gaze once again to the ground.
That said, I hold to the idea
The beach inspired: the soul only knows two emotions.
A boat cannot sail across an ocean of anger.
Only over heaves of sorrow or
Buoyant ripples of joy can a vessel
As fragile as ours get anywhere.
And all the other emotions pass.
Only joy and sorrow remain—
Waves of sorrow, like wind
Through reeds, currents of joy,
Like fingers through harp strings,
Sorrow that wanders abandoned houses,
Joy that claps its hands with praise,
Sorrow, limitless, and dark as night,
Joy, shimmering, like a sea of gold.
The eternal dance of union and longing–
The substance and form of all we ever wanted
And all that we are, or ever shall be,
Is made up of the rhythms of joy and sorrow.
So I will hold still and I will sing,
For today I know the soul’s journey
Is sure, the soul’s journey is born
On waves of sorrow and currents of joy,
And ends on the shore where the Beloved waits,
In perfect peace, to welcome us home.

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