The Venezuela of my youth
had a cement washtub,
Abuela’s hands washing away
the heat of equatorial afternoon,
flashed a decadent Carnival
and I, a shy child with
thin hair, waved at the parade
in my clown costume,
joyed at the donkey piñata
at my sister’s first birthday,
children spun and spun
until they missed their mark and fell.
Today in Venezuela, raspy voiced
men walk the streets of Maracay,
rest their hands idly on assault weapons,
load poems into my quaking heart.
Janette Schafer is a freelance writer, nature photographer, former opera singer, and full-time banker living in Pittsburgh PA. She was a 2017 awardee of the Maenad Fellowship through Chatham University. Her poems and photographs have recently been included in the following: Unlikely Stories V, Event Horizons, Dear America, Reflections on Race, Nasty Women & Bad Hombres Anthology, and Anti Heroin Chic.
Photograph by Diosean.