Index by Author

The Skylark Prize, Spring 2019
Taylor McElwain
Daylilies and Darkness
The tragedy of Persephone has been told for centuries—
naïve girl is deceived by an older man,
stolen from her mother,
forced into a world she doesn’t understand,
doomed to be captive for half her life.
It’s a testament to the innocence and naïveté of young women
and a statement on how they must be protected.

Until it isn’t.

Picture this—
a young girl, sheltered and safeguarded against the world,
grows bored.
She knows this story, knows how it ends,
and decides she doesn’t want to spend the rest of her life
frolicking through flowers in the safety of her mother’s meadow.
She’s hungry.
She wants to feel powerful, indestructible,
wants to watch something crumble to dust and fall through her fingers,
wants to have power over more than just the foliage.

She wants more.

So when a chariot crafted of bone appears over the hill,
when the countryside crumbles, leaving a gaping pit
where the wildflowers used to be,
she knows she’s found her chance.

Persephone sauntered into the Underworld with a smile,
planted the seeds of love in Hades’ heart,
ate the pomegranate seeds in one bite.
She wound flowers into her hair underneath an obsidian crown,
sat upon her new throne,
and smiled a smile that could coax flowers out of the frost,
cause the dead to tremble in fear.
Half springtime, half grave.

©2019 Taylor McElwain