Etymologies of The Divine

Waters swept the youngest away.

comets came crashing down upon the mountains,

mountains like teeth and comets like eyes.

Campfire sessions dulled as the winter went on.

A leper cried out for relief

shed her skin and waded her bones into the water—

a miracle. The word was new.

Mud became walls,

wheat maggot-rotted,

bison died of their feed,

the king gave the last of the meat to his son

who greased his lips and faded into Bellum’s breath.

Pomegranates stained the fingers of children like blood.

Grapes fermented into wine and led sons to the sea,

sailors cried out to the tempest, and were received by thunder

as their fathers dragged their myrtle wreathed sisters to the cliff’s edge

like heifers.

Arcadia descended into empires, and empires into antiquity.

The widow cast off her dregs at the sight of the cresting tides.

Music spewed forth from a shepherd’s mouth and moved

those in the mountains to pluck out their hearts as offerings to the sun.

And a still pool of water reflected the moon’s outstretched palm and rose

into waves, and I was very much afraid.

EMMA HOFFMAN, 18, is a student at Newark Academy in Livingston, NJ. She recently attended the Iowa Young Writer’s Studio and The Kenyon Review Young Writers’ Workshop. Her work has been published in The Louisville Review, Canvas, and Polyphony H.S.