Honorable Mention – Flash 405, April 2019: “Magic & Myths”
my mist-wreathed mouth’s a smoking lily
the famished voices swarm from my lips
they sting me to speech
like wraiths of bees
The first line—just two words—of this poem is so powerful, I can’t get over it: honey has never been so bitter. I love how much sensory detail is packed into the limited space of this poem: it’s striking and evocative, but there’s even more lurking between the lines. In the context of “Magic & Myths,” Oracle invites us to consider the historical role of women and prophecy, and the painful power of words. Also, the poet had no way of knowing this, but I am currently obsessed with bees, so there’s that, too.
Melissa Cannon has had careers in academia and in fast-food. She has published poems in over 100 small-press journals and anthologies, including HOMEWORKS and HOMEWORDS, two volumes of Tennessee writers from the University of Tennessee Press. She lives in Nashville.