When I was Seventeen
after Laura E. Davis
My mother slumped on her couch
eyes clouded with Jesus and
ecclesiastical frenzy, fingers fluttering,
fervent fear for my virginity. I did not date
or learn to drive. Always the visions.
They were of my doom or downfall,
a clutching of hand to heart.
I believed in Jesus
but He did not believe in me.
Could he whisper to my mother
of some good to come? Tears
and choking, a laying on
of hands, a casting out
of demons that oppressed
me. They spoke through her voice:
I would fall to the wide path
watching life as it passed by
and hoping one day to join it.
On the occasion of buying a used copy of my own damn book
Reasons why you should not Google yourself. Ever.
My book was on Amazon marked,
“Used. Good Condition.”
Arriving media mail, it pleased me
that it was read; dog-earred pages,
name of the most recent owner
in pristine cursive, bright pink highlighter.
The first owner was Susan—I had signed
that it was lovely to meet her and her husband.
Louis, the second owner with
the beautiful signature, I am glad
my words were with you for this long while,
and pained that you decided to let them go.
Found Sonnet #1
He seemed to be Hemingway, living life
as a strengths-finder; ready to confront
pencils on paper, blankets made of psalms.
Ladies could not put him down; he was a
real page-turner. Traveling a long trail
of captured landscapes and all-powerful
testimonies, he sojourned alone through
dark valleys, jukebox car alarms, all while
braiding the storm. He learned to act quickly,
fighting the bulls, dining on oranges
and Scotch neat. He was not a big sailor
but a shell-shocked soldier, difficult and
lost, a tightly written nuanced story.
Don’t make him a heartland; he is not home.
Janette Schafer is a freelance writer, photographer, and opera singer living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a 2017 Maenad Fellowship winner in creative writing through Chatham University. She was a 2015 Arts MODE Fellowship awardee in playwriting through New Sun Rising LLC, and the resulting theatrical work “northeastsouthwest” won the Spirit of the Fringe award at the 2016 Pittsburgh Fringe Festival. Upcoming and recent publications include: Calamus Journal, Eyedrum Periodically, The Woman Inc., Zany Zygote Review, and Chatham University broadsides.