Elizabeth Bear is one of my favorite writers. I love her precise and intelligent use of language, and her ability to write works that rip your heart out of your chest, and then show you the beauty in the sadness. She has a gift for seeing the monstrous in the human, and the humanity in the monsters.
"The Horrid Glory of its Wings" was published on Tor.com in December of 2009. I have been haunted by it ever since. It is, I think, one of the best examples of a story that has the exact right ending.