The Garden

by Rebecca Sylvester

The garden. The seminal smell of the chestnut tree blooms. It is dark but for the blue illumination of the moon. She is burying something again in the earth. The summer ground is moist and warm. She continues digging, though this is nothing she intends to grow.

Suitor after suitor insists on leaving some part of himself behind, usually a hand but sometimes a foot or ear and once, a beautiful curved penis. At first, she was flattered by these gifts of self the men offered. She displayed the items about the house in prominent places, a foot on the mantle at Christmas and a well-turned wrist on the table in the foyer. Soon though, she felt them becoming weighty and demanding.

Shouldn’t she give something of herself in return, they seemed to be saying. “Look at you parading around on two feet, as if you owed nothing.”

When finally the weight of her obligations became too much, she set about to rid herself of them. She started by simply placing them in the trash, until one morning she woke to find that the trash man had left for her his own foot on the porch. She put them away in the attic, but at night they lined up outside her bedroom door awaiting favors she was loath to give. The garden then seemed the only place.

The garden. The obscene profusion of new growth. Fruit fingers wave suggestively, dangling from gangly limbs. At least one tree bows to her each time she enters. She permits them their lives, such as they are, within the gates of her yard, though she has forbidden all men.


Rebecca Sylvester lives and writes in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. Her short story "Aerial" appeared in Issue Seven of The Cafe Irreal.