in memory of Russell Edson
A woman was sowing snakes in the garden.
“Don’t be foolish,” her husband told her. “It’s too early to plant copperheads. You have to wait until the last frost is past.”
The woman ignored his advice. “That’s an old wives’ tale,” she said, sowing another row.
“You should know,” he told her. “You’re an old wife. But we shall see come the next frost.”
The next night grew frigid and when morning came, the woman awoke to find a fine blanket of ice silvering her garden.
“You see,” her husband said. “You should have planted something heartier, like timber rattlers or cottonmouths.”
“I will plant mambas in your work boots,” she told him. “And coral snakes in your sock drawer.”
“That’s no way for a wife to talk,” he said.
“I’m no wife,” the woman said. “I’m a gardener—see?”
The man turned to find delicate vines covered with silver scales sprouting in the garden through the ice.
“You are a gardener!” he said.
“I am a wife,” the woman said. “Now it’s back to the snake store. Mind your boots and socks.”
R.G. Evans is the author of the poetry collection Overtipping the Ferryman (Aldrich Press Poetry Prize, 2014) and the forthcoming novella The Noise of Wings. His poems, stories, and reviews have appeared in Rattle, The Literary Review, and Weird Tales, among other publications. His original music, including the song “The Crows of Paterson,” was featured in the 2012 documentary All That Lies Between Us. Evans teaches high school and college English and Creative Writing in southern New Jersey. rgevanswriter.com