I can fly now, a little. I still cannot use my wings well, not like the flower-people who have had them from childhood. I shiver to think—the babies fresh-born in unfurling buds, the small children who are yet wingless, pattering over the petals on their tiny feet, paddling in the ponds created at the base of the tulips when it rains—that they will face that ordeal.
My mother smiles as my brother kills himself. She cheers as he jerks his birth knife sideways; she claps as he opens his throat. The priests haul him out by his ankles and drag him across the square. They toss his body into the grave I refused to help him dig. The others crowd my mother, and her face goes rapturous under their praise: Mother and her golden womb, Mother and her dutiful children, Mother and her many, many sacrifices.