I imagine she was lying here just like this, staring up through sunglasses. My mother doesn't want me lying here. She thinks it's odd.

Of course the power lines are gone now, but I know how they used to hang. They would have cut like train tracks through the swimming pool sky. Two lines - I think - one for electricity and one for the telephone. One was larger, twisted like black licorice and looked as chewy. The other was a sleek long cylinder. Separating the sky like someone had begun to build a horizon, then got bored and walked off.

You couldn't have said she was smart. And she wasn't pretty. She tried community college, but she wasn't any good at anything. Just a kind of nothing girl, with similarly unpromising friends who treated each other like aquaintances. She liked to lie in the sun, though.

My aunt would often come home and find her lying there, me beside her with a book, in the summers when we used to visit. "Lynette," she would say, "Didn't I tell you to do those dishes?"

"Uh huh," Lynette would mumble.

I would follow Aunt Paulie inside and help with dinner. "That girl needs a job," she would say. Then she would stare at some point far away out the kitchen window, perhaps even on the other side of the earth. "That girl.." she would say.

This is the first time we've been back since I started high school. Aunt Paulie went to stay with my grandma, and my mother is packing up the things. It's so sad, but she went so easy. Just another summer afternoon, just lying on the spotty lawn. The power pole was neglected, so my aunt will get a settlement. I know how tragic it is, but that seems perfect for Lynette, that her life would just be bought like that, that no one would be outraged or hysterical. Just sad.

Aunt Paulie would know what I mean. Of course you can't say those things, but she would understand. When we got here with our little bags, she was just sitting on the porch, smoking her long cigarettes but mostly letting them fade into ash. The humidity and the heat had liquified all the ice in her lemonade. I think there were more beads of sweat on the glass than liquid in it. She was looking through the screen, into the darkness, perhaps listening to the crickets.

It didn't take much. Some man just backed into the power pole and there it was. The lines came down. Too fast for Lynette to get out of the way. I don't think she would have, anyway. She would have layed here like this, watching them come.

Inspired by what turned out not to be a nodeshell.

What have you found
I asked him
In the honey-sick afternoon light

That was strange in the American Midwest?

And he said to me, in the wood-floor-dustiness
I’ve seen many things.

Lambs and calves with two heads.
I’ve seen tombstones of the living and the dead
A star of green glass in the desert
Iron rails that run nowhere at all.
I’ve met vampires in dusty towns
And run from the howls of wolves.

He paused to take a slow sip.
I’ve watched people dance with snakes for God.
I’ve heard the music that made people feel like they could never die.
And talked to men who talk about lost tribes and caves of gold .
I have smoked marijuana grown just outside of Memphis,
Eaten rustled beef, and rations built for another age .

He looked at me
With eyes that made me feel small.

But I’ve never seen
Anything so strange
As someone who would
Rather listen to me talk
Than see it for themselves.

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