This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Daughters by Brittney Corrigan, released by Airlie Press in 2021.
My mother’s inner compass never falters. If the king had known her gift for navigation, he might have set her to a fitting task. But beauty veils from men the truest center, and so he sent her in to be devoured. Fear was a thing my mother cast before her like torchlight: the walls were but quarry stones, ordinary and smooth. The smell of the bull: familiar as her farm. Just another earthy beast to feed and tend. So when my father’s breath fired beside her as she stepped within the labyrinth’s heart, my mother simply offered up her palm, like an apple to a horse. She gentled his horns, bowed his startled head, and laid her brow to his. Violence makes of the world a maze. Consider my grandfather, the white bull. How his life was spared from sacrifice. Consider my grandmother, cursed with unnatural love. And their beast-child, consumed with hunger. In every civil man hides a beast. In every maddened beast sleeps the heart of a child. My monstrous father cradled me with kindly arms, tucked the softness of my curls against the coarse hairs of his chest. Now from the labyrinth’s center we watch the architect’s son fall back to earth, waxy feathers dropping away from the sun. Even the sky is a cage. My mother maps us to her. She knows the way out, but won’t say.
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