I knew a woman down the road 
that predicted my sex with a needle 
and string above my mother’s belly
she laughed like Witch Hazel
from Saturday morning cartoons
she had hair like Bonnie Tyler 
I used to sit on her porch panting
failing to keep up with older boys
she’d give me Pepsi in a plastic cup
while her pet raccoon dug into 
my pockets looking for something
that he never did find

she still called on the phone 
after the stroke put her down
in a wheelchair in Ohio away
talked and talked and talked
about the road and made us
promise to make sure everyone 
knew she was thinking of us 

I wonder
when she died
if she was thinking
of those wild boys in her yard
laughing laughing laughing
the golden moment for a woman
at the end
that we all forgot