Sophie tickles my cheek with her tongue, and I give her my right arm. Like the Virgin’s mantle sliding over my shoulder, she rolls her muscles to the drummer’s heartbeat, washing me in light. Mama calls my boa a serpent, and me a dirty coochie dancer. Jesus is in covered-dish suppers at the Boaz Baptist Church. But I believe he’s in Sophie. At the Bottoms Up Bar she first appeared—eyes milky, scales ghost white. Just slept on a cover under the sink and refused to eat for six days. On the seventh, clouds evaporated. Clear dark eyes and bright brown body. Three days later, she rubbed and pushed her nose against the back screen until the skin broke. All day she pressed against the linoleum floor, never letting up. At night a translucent ribbon lay on the quilt—eye caps on top.
First Published: “Blood Moon,” Doorknobs short fiction first-prize winner, Doorknobs and BodyPaint (Issue 55, August 2009).