This is but a fractal; a waking image from an ancient dream. Imperfect. Incomplete.

The two women stand, holding hands, before the spiraling.

Translucent screens for glitching projections; time-stamped, curated, past participles.

Fire-licked, ochred images; candle-glow paint pots of ground amethyst and ruby; flicker of magic lantern; the whirr of one-reelers spooling; click of rumpus room slide shows; hum of micron-thin motherboard.

Earth | sky; clay and bone; dust-moted, dandelion fluffed

voices of their dead; revenant; lore coveted, covened, cosseted.

Burnt aster offering | snaking tattoos; heavy chain of blood and gossamer thread | pandorica

In the millennia between inhale and ex, a step

I had thought, for another prompt (image of asters and butterfly), to write a shadorma about Astraea whose tears created stars and star-flowers. She also is part of the Pandora story as she is the last of the Greek gods to leave earth, ending the Golden Age, once Pandora has opened that infamous box. (Greek myths have this as a pithos – storage jar.) Asters, star-flowers, are Astraea’s tears which fell upon the earth; burnt asters can be used to guard against serpents.

Scholars posit that Pandora morphed/influenced the Judeo-Christian religion; a template for Eve. Like Pandora, Eve is curious. Influenced by a serpent, as the story goes, she takes a bite of the apple. Thus, casting herself and Adam out of Eden – our initial Golden Age? (What happens when you’ve awake at 3 am and one query/search leads to another)

The mlmm photo challenge image looked like a spiraling portal. Got me to thinking. What if Pandora and Eve, armed with the knowledge of how their actions would impact on perceptions and treatment of women for millennium, could go back and alter the time-line. Speculative fiction, and questions asked so, so many times: what if Adam took the first bite? what if Epimetheus (Pandora’s husband) opened the jar? what if the fruit remained on the tree and the jar unopened? what if?