Cover Photo: J. Longo
J. Longo

The Snake as Big as Their House

She loved snakes, but this one was a motherfucker.

She loved snakes, but this one was a motherfucker, and she was, after all, in charge of protecting the younger two who were at times her children, at other times her siblings. They flip-flopped like that, back and forth, constantly, so that just when she was assured that, yes, they were her children, or, of course, they were her younger brother and sister, there would be some quizzicality to their identities (whether appearance or speech or behavior) that would make her realize that truly they were the other. And so on and so forth until she realized that it didn’t matter because what mattered was that she was the oldest and was to keep the snake at bay.

Sommer Schafer is a senior editor of The Forge Literary Magazine. Read more about her publications at