Myth of the Mother Snake

Myth of the Mother Snake
Carrie Cuinn

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

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