Names never cease to amaze me. In the hands of this poet, two familiar stories flow out of one simple name, each informing the other.
So named for Peter, the one who tried
to walk on water. The Storm
Petrel, small as a sparrow with a frantic,
pulsing flight, stays silent at sea,
pattering the water with its feet to feed.
Peter, venturing onto that first
unfurled swell, saw the black gyre
below and knew the darkness.
He flailed his arms for rescue
as thunder cracked
a seam of doubt down his center.
He was lifted unto the shore like a bird
thick with oil. And after each wing
was delivered and each feather realigned,
the black stench still lingered:
a line beneath each nail
an itch inside his throat.
By Kristin George. Published in The Cresset (Lent 2012), page 31. Naming and walking silently are kingly things.