from The Book of Melusine

Half-breed, she can only have her birthright by denying her matrimony. She must be all light, all air; her chthonic rage invisible, mute, erased. But mother will out—the Sabbath is her mother’s day, and, a new Daniel, Melusine retires to her chamber, closes door and windows and allows herself one day of license. Snakeskin breathes again, airkissed, unashamed.

This is the moment trapped in amber and on canvas, this space of incipient revelation. Raymond’s hand is on the latch; her secret revealed at last, Melusine asserts her fundamental unity, forgives her husband his trespass as he forgives her deception. Illusory forgiveness; his acceptance is personal, not political. Raymond loves, or perhaps only endures, but does not acknowledge. She must pass still in borrowed skin six days out of seven. Later, when tried, he will repudiate her knowable strangeness, cast her out to mother’s knowing arms.

Melusine does not hope. For three steps forward, two are lost. Rosie, strong-armed and dutiful on the rivet line, is shunted back to Levittown at war’s end; Alice Sheldon is driven into Tiptree’s elusive shadow. She is scarred with backlash, charcoaled out with swallowed fire; Medea’s dragon wings lift her not to revenge but instead to Avalon.

Still. She is powerful in her departure. Beneath demure skirts, a thousand serpent tails begin to grow.