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I’m a teen,
but God says
I’m a prophet.

I’m a preacher’s kid
from the countryside.
How can I handle
the city-slickers
in Jerusalem?
How can I argue
with powerbrokers and kings,
convince all the people
that I’m right?

God touches my mouth
and promises,
“I’ll give you words
and fill your head
with wisdom.
I’ll never desert you.”

I tell God
I’m no public speaker.
I’ve got no job experience.
But God reassures me,
“As a prophet,
you are above
priests and kings.
And don’t forget:
I’ve got your back!”

Janet Ruth Heller

Janet Ruth Heller is the president of the Michigan College English Association.  She has a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago.  She is a past president of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature.  She has published three poetry books:  Exodus (WordTech Editions, 2014), Folk Concert: Changing Times (Anaphora Literary Press, 2012), and Traffic Stop (Finishing Line Press, 2011); a scholarly book, Coleridge, Lamb, Hazlitt, and the Reader of Drama (University of Missouri Press, 1990); a middle-grade fiction chapter book for children, The Passover Surprise (Fictive Press, 2015, 2016); and a fiction picture book for children about bullying, How the Moon Regained Her Shape (Arbordale, 2006; 6th edition 2018), that has won four national awards, including a Children’s Choices award.  Her website is