2023 Roots & Roads Winner: “ANCESTRY TOLD THROUGH PROPHECY” by Meriem Evangeline
“Daughter after daughter was / offered for the harvest.”
We’re thrilled to celebrate Meriem Evangeline, our 2023 Roots & Roads winner! Her poem, “ANCESTRY TOLD THROUGH PROPHECY,” has been awarded the first place prize of $3,000. Stay tuned as we publish the runners-up throughout January.
ANCESTRY TOLD THROUGH PROPHECY
through the farmland where the cattle
umber the wheat, I felt the prophecy pour
from my mouth. My tenderness as predatory
as a butcher through the eyes of a lamb that
begets the new land. Let me tell you the story I
know, let me weave together a language spat
from the clefts of our prophets to tell you that
that day, the unfurled wool of the lamb became
the aparche and the rupture began. the
crops and pomegranates fell from the lamb-
stomach. daughter after daughter was
offered for the harvest. together one body—
sewed daughter-flesh more fresh than the
unsutured underbelly of an ewe whose
organs lay out fully uneaten. that day the
butchers also left no daughter-organ uneaten
they consumed each offal because to refuse the
onslaught would prove they lacked mercy for what
suffers. when they ate they became conquerors and
bred the berber daughters to plough the new seed.
a seed well fathered, honourable and always pure.
I am the new seed, I am that daughter.
متربية / metrobya / n. well fathered / honourable / always pure / cut fresh from the harvest of June /
when she bleeds she / never touches the holy / when she washes / she becomes the honeysuckle of
summer / when they ask her to flesh herself open / & make her body a home for the butchers / she
obeys / they enter her & her body becomes the meat that churns to please them / the rosy poultry of
her womb cuts open to / reveal the knotted fat of her progeny / she watches herself be swallowed by the
glottal she respects [ she fears / she— ] / she tends to the voyeur [ she becomes her own voyeur ] / she
undos honour / she destroys her whole folkhome
Meriem Evangeline is a Greek-Tunisian writer and is currently completing her Honours in Creative Writing. She is a writer and editor for Dune Magazine. Her work has been published and / or is forthcoming in Dune, The Rising Phoenix Review, Eunoia Review and Honey Literary.