To Walk Peter’s Walk

by John Russell Monagle

To tightly clutch safety
does not always ensure safety
like when one holds the railing
of a boat on roiling waters
during a storm as gale winds moan
and waves crash on themselves.
Stroll the stormy sea, especially
if raging water is less 
than the rage within. The first step 
of faith is to leave what is known 
and go forward when water shifts 
under feet, when skin is cold 
from buffeting wind and water 
sprayed from every direction.

Voices call out, including
one inside the head pleading 
for the return. Going forward is slow 
and the body is heavy, burdened 
by fears and temptation to unburden 
the self of prayers and belief, 
to sink into questions, drown in doubts, 
undisturbed by the callings 
abounding beyond and within 
on this journey of wet and heavy steps.

Even as the heart freezes,
there is hope to hear a voice 
recognized though never heard, 
to gaze towards the location,
to find the face known and prized 
though never seen, to grip
the extended hand. The only way 
is to go the next step. When the heart 
is obedient to the full sensation of life, 
it will realize peace and safety upon arrival, 
to stand firm within its grasp.

John Russell Monagle resides in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He retired from a career at The Library of Congress. He graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts with a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing, specializing in poetry. He has had numerous poems published, most recently in Sin Fronteras, High Plains Register, and the New Mexico Poet Laureate anthology of New Mexico poets for 2022.

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