Although my mother had dated one man steadily for several years after the divorce, she didn’t keep any man around for long after my father killed himself. The men she dated then were a lot like the circuses that passed through our town. They’d move in quickly and unpack everything they owned, as if they had come to stay. They’d tempt us with brightly colored objects –flowers, balloons, remote-controlled race cars– perform tricks with their beards and hands, call us funny names like snip, my little squash plant, ding-dong, and apple pie, and yell their stories at us day and night. Then they’d vanish, and we’d find no sign left, no mention even, as if we’d simply imagined them.