Author's Note: Snakes

Once Aunt Carnie asked me, "What kind of country girl are you?" I truthfully answered that I was the kind that stayed indoors. I should have turned the question back on her but sometimes I'm a bit of a know-it-all.

Amy Albracht is a visual artist and writer. Her fiction has appeared in Monkeybicycle and SmokeLong Quarterly and she has exhibited art in some out of the way places. She travels with the same four books that have gotten a lot of mileage lately because she can’t decide where to live. She has a virtual presence here: amyalbracht.com.

Snakes

I have been away from Brooklyn for a few years but I remember it perfectly. From my door to the subway it was 1.2 miles. Sometimes I thought about trying the fire escape rather than braving the stairs. After I became immune to the smell of summer garbage but before I lost my taste for nightlife I found a seagull with a broken wing in the middle of the street on my walk from the train and took it home. The next day we went to the animal control center in the Bronx. We were both resigned to the long subway ride. I was an hour and a half late to my job in the cookie factory. My cookie boss was pissed. My co-worker who had gotten me the job didn’t look me in the eye all day. At happy hour Wayne and Minju were disgusted that I had handled, much less aided, vermin. So I rarely brought up Aunt Carnie in conversation. Aunt Carnie kept a beetle grub the size of a Sumo wrestler’s thumb in wood shavings in a coffee can. She came across an injured egret and took off her brassiere and bound up the bird. The bird flew off with her bra on. A different wounded animal needed her panties. Aunt Carnie is actually my Great Aunt Carnie. When she says the word woods it sounds like it has fourteen syllables that bounce up and down like the hollows that she rambles. There is an egg made of white alabaster in her chicken coop. The snake that eats the egg can’t pass it and dies. So far, she’s found all the dead snakes in the woods. She chops them up and gets her alabaster egg back. It will be yellowed with stomach acid but she knows a bleaching trick. Aunt Carnie has probably written up these anecdotes in rhymed couplets. She can recite everything that she has ever written as well as all the poetry she memorized as a child. I lightly sketch out other people’s bits knowing that snakes aren’t the only thieves.


by Amy Albracht