Ghosts sit at the picnic table feasting on chili. They eat the chili out of paper bowls with corn chips. There are no toppings like shredded cheese or chopped onions, though some pass around a bottle of Tapatío. Tiny flies swarm and the water of the reservoir is glassy and gold. A deer on the side of the hill pauses to assess the situation. Is there some problem at the table? Relax—the meal, though simple, is a success. The dead take great pleasure in the surroundings and their own company. They even have a little poodle. Another sun sets and another sky becomes purple pink orange. The meal has ended and the amiable ghosts have retired for the night. They are not—it seems—nocturnal. But as the black sky comes down and covers the light, and as the stars begin to poke through, the wind picks up and carries long moans and howls across the water.
Marlowe Daly was one of the founders of the exciting but ill-fated literary magazine, Juggernaut. She lives on the Idaho side of the Snake River and teaches American literature and writing at Lewis-Clark State College. Her blog about living and writing in the West can be found at http://westernhighway.wordpress.com/.