If I’d seen something in the dust like toes in shape, the marked pit indentions resulting from nails pressing downward so as to generate speed when the moon is directly overhead and thus working against all attempts at camouflage, at succor, I might have decided then to sit down at the kitchen table and knock out the whodunit that had been troubling my sleep for weeks, the evidence to be conjured and interpreted by a private investigator seven feet tall -- the gasoline soaked rags, say, the tube of lipstick and the incorrectly-strung tennis racket -- floating before my eyes in otherwise empty space like dust motes or wanton cherubim. The price for uttering finally what you should have uttered ten minutes before is the same as not uttering anything at all, which means we are left with a sensation in the chest very like a bullet wound. And when we try to explain it those who grow concerned, those who have watched us struggle at the banister as if the banister were made of feathers and the palms of our hands had broken out in hives, the only words that come to mind are the words that someone else has forged and then discarded, has willfully abandoned because they never managed to suit his purposes. Perhaps they had growths on them like barnacles that all but disqualified them for use in any but the most self-serving screed of the sort that gets turned eventually into a play by people who know how to evoke complex emotions using the simplest of props. A bugle with a dent in it. Another bugle pristine and bright as polished isinglass but incapable of producing a single note no matter how forcefully you blow into it. The coop is undamaged, the wiring just as I’d left it each night the night before and for fifteen years before that, when the boy had showed an interest finally in what he could do with his thumbs and that part of the hand that folds over the thumb and so makes it possible for us to grasp objects, to wield them with intent. He held hammers and mallets with silent and malicious glee, seemed to be watching the back of my head for any opportunity that might present itself. In his eyes, on that place at the center of the iris where what is brewing about inside mirrors precisely what is occurring outside, you could see a predetermined location on my scalp, and I knew better than to turn my back on him for more than ten seconds when the light was failing and the breeze came off the mountains and stirred the dust at your feet. It was enough to make you believe in spirits, entities diminutive enough to fit inside those small rotating columns of otherwise invisible air. And yet they were formidable for all that – ancient and determined to make you pay for the least misstep, for the arrogance of treading the barren earth without so much as a nod in their direction. A name whispered as talisman. A candle left burning the night through on the dresser closest to the window. The immovable window, the one that does not tilt in or out, the one covered on the outside in an opaque gauze mixture of abandoned spider web and organic debris that looks suddenly like it has been placed there intentionally, it has been left behind as calling card or marker only the blind could miss.