A snake in the garden.

July 20, 2010 at 11:05 am (a gentleman farmer, the gods)

There is a snake in the garden.

Last year, just before my birthday, three keys were left on the ledge next to my door. I left them there, not wanting to take them from whomever may have lost them. But when three of my neighbours tried to return them to me, including an old man with a python coiled about his shoulders, I felt certain of the shape of the ritual and accepted the gift. I have those keys, still. This year, on the day before my birthday, my neighbours knocked three times again. The first time they informed us that quite a large snake, possibly two large snakes, had been seen crawling into my garden. The second time they told us that they’d called the police. And the third time we learned that the police wouldn’t be helping us, and that we should really be careful.

I live in the ghetto, and my garden is only a few raised beds in an abandoned lot. To protect from the rare less well-intentioned of my neighbours, I’ve allowed the front half of the lot to be claimed by underbrush and weeds, low-growing paulownia trees, a tangled net of grasping green. Anything lurking there would be quite invisible.

What happens, I wonder, next year, on my third birthday with this snake spirit that clearly coils in threes? For now I’ll wear my fishmongering boots when I’m outdoors checking on my tomatoes and kale, and hope that the snake, if angered or frightened, is feeling lethargic and not up to lunging above the level of my knees in this heat.

Horrible death--a man eaten by rattlesnakes, near West Chazy...

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