by Alexis Petri
Holy men pitched tents
on my grandmother’s farm land.
They trickled into 1975 fed by
an ancient spring, while everyone else
drove downtown in Ventura Coupes;
sat in dark theatres terrified by Jaws.
While everyone else worried about war
and inflation, the holy men contrived
how to live in perpetual wonderment.
Like the land, the holy men sat
and experienced what air would know
with language. They peeled the outer layer
off the world. Moving in a circular direction,
they stripped the skin from everything
around them in long spirals, like they wanted
to eat an apple but knew only habit.
In the woods, I found an old harrow.
That—I could look at and know
its purpose was to pulverize
and cultivate soil. “Don’t disturb
what rests” the holy man said to me
as I dug out the agrarian dinosaur
from a hundred years of decayed leaves.
I felt the roughness of rust on my
childish hands and imagined how
those diamond-sharp teeth once preyed
in these yawning, dried-up fields.
Alexis Petri recently returned to writing poetry. She has a master’s degree in English and a doctorate in educational foundations. For the past twenty years, she has been kicking down the doors of academia to better serve post-traditional students. She has helped preschool teachers earn degrees in early childhood, military veterans earn degrees in stem fields, as well as tailoring supports for college students with learning disabilities. Her poetry and photography have most recently appeared in Cagibi, Midwest Review, Marathon Literary Review, The Same, and Ellipsis… literature & art.