Visiting the Witch Trials Memorial

We still have our Salems. – Elie Wiesel

Beneath the locust tree I ponder, pressing
my back against its trunk. Another stone

pulls my focus. No one wishes my ancestors
were witches more than me, but, My God,

the hangings and hysteria of it all.
Will the final stone ever be lifted 

from Giles Corey’s chest? How many more
knees on necks and shots for hatred 

will be fired before the Cotton Mathers
of this century are condemned 

for being under the influences of the Devil
in Christ’s name? I can’t breathe

from the witch-hunts that still trump
the truth: there are no witches. 

There never were. All that exists
is scapegoats to defend the desire to murder. 


As the World Drowns

I try to bathe in it,
breathe in steamy
eucalyptus breaths.
Filling my lungs
on the inhale,
I am calm.
The only weight
in this turmoil:
my sitting bones.


Artist Statement: “Visiting the Witch Trials Memorial” is a reflection on the injustices toward people who were falsely accused of witchcraft in the 1690s and how that juxtaposes the continuous injustices toward Black lives and people of color. “As the World Drowns” is a brief moment of attempted peace in a plagued world. It uses the common meditative mantra “I am calm” to try to manifest an actual sense of calmness. In everything I create, I attempt to foster a solidarity – especially among those who identify as women – that is severely lacking in our divided and judgmental world.

Bio: Shelby Lynn Lanaro is a poet by passion and a teacher by trade. A New England native, Shelby and her fiancé live in a log cabin in the woods, where they try to restore their sanity from the year 2020. Shelby received her MFA in 2017 from Southern Connecticut State University, where she now teaches First Year Composition and Creative Writing.

Cover Photo by T from Pexels