There is a little town in her head, made of tin cans and cereal boxes and exhaust pipes. It sits on a wooded knoll out by where the highway will someday be once Eisenhower does his thing, where the middle class will eventually paint their neighborhoods across the straining landscape, where for a little while longer there is still magic seeping out of the ground like oil.
It is always autumn. She is the town's only permanent resident.
There are other people here and there, by invitation only, imported and expelled following her whim or favor: her mother, always; her father, mostly; certain school friends often; her brother, rarely, only when he is good or it is his birthday. Together they collect turning leaves and four-leaf-clovers and happy memories.
There will come a day when she will get in the car and drive down the hill to adulthood; not today.