The Burial, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Jennifer Angelina Petro



The spirits gathered around my bed
Hooded, cloaked in darkness,
Arms like terrible branches
Grasping and hungry.
They wanted the child
I was holding, and yet I
Was only a child myself,
Unable to protect myself
Or the child from their frenzied hunger.
And yet they wanted the child.
And in the blackness of that midnight,
In the utter aloneness of that moment,
As the spirits tore at my arms,
I wouldn’t give them what they wanted.
I held on to the child.
But not out of heroics.
For the child I held was already dead.
And I simply wouldn’t give her up.
I wouldn’t. I couldn’t. And my life
Became a shrine to this baby,
This baby dead from as far back
As I can remember.
And just as the spirits from the darkness
Surrounded me, and just as I sometimes feel like
I have become one of them,
The spirit of that baby lives
And guides my every movement.
I cannot bring the child back
But I can live in her honor,
And bury her at the roots
Of the Tree of Life, believing
She will rise again, transfiguring
However she will into my life
And yours, informing us all, like
Breath, like a garden, like morning, like
The wide open sky.


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Thanksgiving, A Little Story on the Nature of Prayer, by Jennifer Angelina Petro


A Little Story on the Nature of Prayer


Jennifer Angelina Petro

A prayer hung heavily on a branch of the Tree of Life. Ripening over centuries, it grew sweeter with age and the persistence of faith.  One day the Gardener strolled by, singing as usual, and plucked the prayer from the Tree, and with great gusto, took a hearty bite, letting the juices river down his chin.


“Now that,” he said, talking with his mouth full, “is a good prayer.”


He continued to eat the prayer, crunching down to the core. When he got to the star shaped seeds he carefully picked them out and then casually, gracefully, and with intention, dropped them to earth.  Weeping for the sheer ecstasy of having been touched by the Gardener’s hands, the seeds fell for days and weeks through open, pristine space, tossed here and there by currents of sound and desire.  They danced as they descended—leaning into little pirouettes and whirled in sweeping spirals, down, down, down they drifted and eventually landed precisely where the Gardener intended them to go—right into the hearts of a little boy and his father.


The little boy had prayed prayers of gratitude all night, for his father hadn’t had a drink in over three months; and the father, weeping in thanks for finally having been freed from the chains of his disease, had prayed prayers of gratitude all night as well.  The seeds nestled in their hearts and, because they were prayers of thanksgiving, sprouted quickly, spreading their holy fire into entire orchards of flourishing trees right through the dark valleys of the lives of that boy and his father.  Soon the boy and his father would be harvesting the fruits of their prayers, and sharing them in heaping bushels with each other, their neighbors and friends, and the world.


“A beautiful day,” the Gardener said as he plucked another prayer from the Tree, “thanksgiving is blossoming everywhere.”





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