What They had Learned of the World
Daughters were taught how to believe in the kind of unwritten tale behind a catastrophe on the altarstone and the wound and chant of a beast torched in the numb thirst of winter who craved the thorn-headed worm. Whose hands led you blindfolded in snowfall stalking the wood with a candle and bell into the drained hollow and seated you before a great serpent in the family pit that tightened around your knotted staff as the pale meteor creased the sky and what child recognized the glory in your blackened throne and feeble ghost? Daughters were taught how to speak in tongues from the half-burned pages of your book until the evening filled their eyes and the shallow parlor of constellations with blue venom and their borrowed wings came alive in the undertow of the womb. After you crawled, pulled a stake, and limped from the curse and glow of a firetong, you stood and tapped the door of their room and listened to a sestina of voices.