Black Widow
Alicia Gifford

There's a rattler curled in the woodpile. I ask Sam to chop some wood in case it chills. It's hot as hell he says. The snake crawls out and slithers across the gravel.

Sam's putting on weight. I slather mayo on his baloney sandwiches. He can't resist baloney on Wonder Bread. I buy assorted doughnuts and leave them arranged on a plate in the kitchen. For supper I fry up steaks in butter and stuff twice-baked potatoes with cheddar and bacon. Ice cream for dessert, and plenty of it.

Sam complains of heartburn and rubs his left arm. I feed him antacids and light his cigarettes for him. You're a good wife, he says.

Today is Sam's funeral. People come to the house bringing hams and casseroles. A cold November wind howls and Jack Gomez offers to light a fire. I tell him to watch for spiders, the woodpile is full of them. Underneath my black wool suit I wear new scarlet panties, bright as a flame.