Franklin had been sent at a gallop for Washington City the moment Miz Emma had stumbled in the parlor that evening, the after-dinner coffee spilling from her overturned tea cup and a long, wet streak of red snaking from underneath her skirt. Only a few moments later, a gush of fluid had stained Miz Jane’s oriental stair runner, and it was only Mr. Henry’s fortuitous anxious hovering at the foot of the staircase as Belinda and the lady of the house struggled to help the poor girl to her room, that spared them from slipping into utter calamity.
Shaking off her growing weariness, Belinda hefted yet another brimming ewer of steaming water from little Elizabeth, who peered shyly over her shoulder for a glance into the candlelit bedroom.
“It gon’ be here soon?”
Belinda lifted an eyebrow, and fixed the girl with the reproachful look that all the household, upstairs and down, had learned to quickly respect.
“Babies don’t often come ‘til they’ve a mind to. Now get back t’the kitchen and tend the kettle – we can’t have it boiling over.”
With a little nod like a hummingbird, Elizabeth darted back down the hall, and Belinda heaved a sigh. The question hadn’t truly been a silly one, she dwelled silently as, at the room’s center, she carefully tipped the china jug and allowed a wash of simmering water to pour over Miz Emma’s back, her groans deepening. After all, none of Miz Jane’s had taken this long… but they’d each been different, every one single, so perhaps it was too soon to be making assumptions.
The hip tub was coming near to overflowing all over the waxed linen crash that covered the floor around it – no sense in ruining more rugs before the night was out – and poor Miz Emma let out another shaky moan of discomfort, her pretty pale arms tightening around her husband’s shoulders as he whispered in her ear, his thumb rubbing at the nape of her neck.
Snake skirt goddess wears a skirt that writhes with the world’s reptilian and cold mechanical forces. Coatlicue became pregnant while sweeping a temple on Serpent Mountain. She was inseminated during temple service on Mount Coatepec by a ball of feathers. She is the deity who wears a snake skirt, Coatlicue.
Plotted on and beheaded by her daughter Coyolxauhqui, blood flows from Coatlicue’s neck in the form of two serpents. She wears a blouse of human hands and hearts.
Her skirt of snakes is like the barbed wire, concrete, and court documents of la frontera. She is not easy to imagine. Her son Huitzilopochtli is a warrior, a god, and an eagle. Set upon by his four hundred brothers, her newly born son wields the xiuhcoatl (“serpent of lightning”) and defeats his enemies as day conquers night.