The Zoo, a Going:
(The Tropic House)
fiction by J. A. Tyler

"The Tree Snake"

Like the things he says to me, my dad, when he says those words or uses his mouth in that way and my mom says Don’t talk to him like that and he stops. Like those words, those times, my dad.

It’s green, this tree snake’s body. It is the exact green of the leaves on its branch, behind this glass I am looking through. But the leaves are fake, I can see their plastic rough parts, so they call it something like camouflage for this tree snake but it may just be they matched the leaves to the snake before they put it behind this glass, before I was looking.

You son of a bitch is something he says to me, to get at me, but really he is saying my mom is that, and maybe that’s what he means, maybe it has nothing to do with my fingernails so clean and the way they don’t do the things he asks in the way he asks them.

Not today she says, Jesus, but it could be any day that she says this, not just us, looking behind this glass, at this green, today.