My mother tells me I'm a failure Unable to shed my skin as she does with each dainty foot emerging cleanly from her cast-off flesh as it flutters to the floor like an unzipped dress She leaves everything behind. My skin sloughs in pieces Revealed in unplanned evolutions scraped off as I bump into delivery boys and collide with sharp-edged furniture stretched out and torn when I grow anew I have always been a work in progress. I should be honored to be Snake, she says To be a woman, and a god we are as our blood sisters are and always we are avatars and icons cold-blooded monsters too, I mention But I am an embarrassment. I've tried to be a perfect daughter Make, remake, myself into her image imagining a version of me she could love focused on shedding my imperfections each time in some way still myself instead My transformation, incomplete. I cry against your shoulder like a child While you insist humanity is better kiss my lips and battered limbs warm my cool heart and cold hands ever in my head, she whispers that family is the first flaw we must learn to shed.
Carrie Cuinn is an author, editor, bibliophile, modernist, and geek. In her spare time she listens to music, watches indie films, cooks everything, reads voraciously, publishes a magazine, and sometimes gets enough sleep. You can find her online at @CarrieCuinn or at http://carriecuinn.com.