Honorable Mention – 2023 Beverly Hopkins Contest for High School Students

A Floridian’s Pastoral: From Heat-Waves to Hieratic

Clayton High School

It’s between waning tree rings of concrete houses, soggy mailboxes, atrophied
fronds, that lush and thirsty mist. I think you warned me about it when the
hurricane came past, in tapestry edges and faded supernovas. And when we’re out
on the lawn, our sweaty palms feel it, too, the rumble of copper pipes. Nautical
clicks, a hushed slither. Yet only when you falter does my protective, violent
trance emerge. I wonder if I were to gut the parasitic skeleton from its yellowed
tender host and lounge naked on the pavement, with the metallic carcass all
bloody, predator grin and dirt ‘neath my nails. Would streetlights mold into
groves, moist silhouettes pinned over harsh suburbia, a smile plastered on your
pale face, finally what I’ve yearned? Only after this ancient arson emerges cattle
grazing, satyrs and nymphs, painted by Lorraine. A humid fantasy!