• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 07

I Rode the Serpent

I rode the serpent, and he rode me, spreading my legs in a skirt cut from my mother’s dress. She feared I’d fall victim, repeat her “mistake.”

He was slippery but, as he arched and moaned when we coiled nightly, I played with his beard.

It was older than I was, smelled of tobacco and coffee. Stuck in it were bubbles of spit and hiss about his wife and tears that sometimes rolled down before he could wipe them.

It was curly, ginger and grey like rusty wire. It’d catch my tongue when we argued, but I soon found I was sharper. He’d apologize. I wouldn’t and was slow to kiss, blaming his prickliness rather than his beard.

My mother—horrified—called it May to December and told me the tale again and again, how my father had slithered away when he learned about me.

Neither she nor he knew the lash of the serpent’s tail that was coming: twins.