You see them in their black carriages along the highway as if they
got separated from some funeral cortege and now must deliver
the dead on their own. The men wear beards but shave their
mustaches. The women wear long dresses and tight bonnets.
The children play with wooden toys and point when they pass
televisions glowing along the roads as if each house had a soul
all its own. They keep bees. Raise crops. Train teams of horses so
large they look like they've been exaggerated. If an Amish man
promises to meet you at noon by the courthouse with a dozen
cages of chickens, he'll be there. When the children are about to
turn into adults, they go on a rumspringa to see which world suits
them best. Girls dangle jewelry from their ears and necks. Smear
makeup on. Boys get behind the wheel of a car. Barrel down gravel
roads. Stop in a field. And baptize themselves with a bottle of gin.
A few go out for football. The girls join the cheerleading squad.
Then return home smelling of perfume or cologne. Giggling as
they stumble up the stairs, long after the candles have been blown