"First Vision" - Javen Tanner

I walked into a grove of laurels. I watched my sisters stretch their limbs
to finger pillars of light. They swayed and whispered together,
their leaves like tongues, green with envy, guessing at your name.

"Mother," they sighed, "we ran from temptation. We prayed to Father,
but our toes dipped into the warm, wet world; our fingers burst
with wild buds. Is this purity, Mother? Is this virtue?"

I knelt at their feet and wreathed their questions into my hair.
I tried to speak, but only coughed a thick darkness until it covered me,
until my brothers, satyr-faced and ashamed, peeked from their hiding places.

When it was safe, they sang of beauty––your beauty––which they could not see.
They danced, ecstatic and oedipal, tearing at their eyes for blindness.
"Mother," they sang, "we were lost in the woods.

When we prayed to Father, he separated us from the sheep,
left us for the stray Lamb. Remember your goat-headed boys, Mother,
seething in your milk." The song stopped short and they scattered.

It was not moonlight when it fell. It was not moonlight when it rested upon me.
It was clarity, warm and wise, when it circled me. And I saw you. And I saw
myself in you, kicking in a womb of glory, waiting to be born again.

Honorable Mention.

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