Best of the Net 2013  

How the Serpent King's Daughter Received Her Wings

Back before the jungle was used hard for rubber and pulp,
back when night lived on the river bottom and cacao beans
roasted on their stems, the Serpent King's daughter swung
through branches by her tail in a macaw feathered coat.
A woman with a mustache and glass eye offered her a wallet
full of odes to money, so she fled. A bald woman suggested
a foot massage for a feather, but she spat in her hair—The book
you've trusted your whole life will betray you
. She met a naked girl
with a scar on her left arm and stumps of horns on her temples.
Our father who art in chains and bearing it. Our mother who put him there,
and rightly so
, the horned girl said and tendered a leprous heart
pitted like stone fruit. The Serpent King's daughter kissed it,
felt a weak wall of the muscle give, slipped a finger into the slit
in her sister's back until the tricky ventriloquist slithered out.

- Traci Brimhall (from Mary: A Journal of New Writing)