“Recovery” by Janette Schafer


(for the Maenads)

I have walked on hot coals
bare feet on the embers,
slid down a rock-face
inches before a waterfall abyss,
stood naked before a lover
with a full belly and
saggy swinging breasts.

I have pinned myself
to a bed with yellow skin
stomach filled with bile
liver distended, pancreas diseased,
kidneys sputtering to spit
a pool of bloody piss.

I have cut me wide open
heart swollen and leaking,
falling to my hands and knees
so many times that my limbs
are meaty stumps of crimson.

I have shed my skin like
a snake, cutting my body
on the rock, splitting away
from the old, new growth
an open wound.


Janette Schafer is a 2017 Maenad Fellowship Awardee in creative writing through Chatham University. Janette was also an awardee of the 2015 Arts MODE Fellowship in playwriting through New Sun Rising LLC. The resulting work, northeastsouthwest, debuted at the 2016 Pittsburgh Fringe Festival, winning the “Spirit of the Fringe” award. A classically trained singer, she has appeared in operas, musicals, plays, and concerts throughout the United States and Europe. Recent and upcoming publications include: Eyedrum Periodically; The Woman, Inc.; B. E. Literary Journal; Nasty Women & Bad Hombres; Chatham University broadsides. Janette resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Featured Image by Jona Fine.

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