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Susan Yount

Mother (40), stepfather (20) charged with neglect after home found in squalid condition.

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Phaedra decided to do something else instead. She is going to wash all the dishes, take out all the dogs, clean the kitchen, do all the laundry, cook a really nice dinner. She is really going to do something today. What was that guy's name again? The guy who died? All this deciding has decidingly exhausted her. All said, it has been a busy life playing wretch. Just today, someone she didn't actually know but was friends with on FaceBook died. It has been difficult for her to know how to react, especially this day – probably the busiest she has been in a long time. Today is especially busy because it is the day she finally decided to help her mother (70) take a bath – but then again, that guy died. As she navigates through dog feces and pissed on clothes, she thinks she hears something. Singing? Chirping? Scolding? Haunting? It is too easy to turn away from mother's soiled clothes, her bedsores and just lock the door back again. And so she does. (Don't worry, the mother escapes, eventually, through an enchanted window.)

She was actually stabbed by her ADD husband about 3 months ago and that is why she cannot walk up the stairs.

Urine stained carpet, pizza boxed furniture, dirty child-husband, the house reeked; they say the odor could be smelled from the roadway. They say her daughter (10) was so happy to leave.

Dream with Phaedra

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We are under the bridge on Kinderhook Road and the cornfield whips tassels behind us. The water is just a trickle this time of year and she tells me her mother is waiting for us in the gravel but I cannot see her. Rue is my boyfriend. I know this because he has left me alone again. He has been cruel to me again. What happens again will happen again. We are under the bridge taking sides. She is on one side and I'm on the other. We both fall asleep in the mud. She's eaten a double stuffed cookie and I've had some well water from the two- liter bottle I used to fill the Nissan's over-heated radiator. I sink away to yet another cruel boyfriend and she rises above the mud like a Snickers bar in a swimming pool on a hot summer day—clean in the city chlorine. We have a choice. We can either wear homemade jeans or nothing. She asks me if I want to take a ride with her mother. I'm still so stupid I say yes, again.

Dream with Phaedra

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I'm somewhere dreaming between Racine and Daemon and she is outside in the cold night running with the wolves. Her frail estate has been collected into one small pile. Some lives just sound better as book introductions or classical plays. There is a reason it is called drama. In this dream, she has stopped running long enough to host a tea party in Beechwood Park with me and Hippolytus. I'm thinking Lake Iola would have been a better choice when some god whispers into my ear – wolves, dogs, pigs – they all piss and shit inside the house if you don't take them out. Thing is, Hippolytus never loved Phaedra and I'm wondering what he is doing here in the first place. Well, it is hard to say for sure if he loved her or not. It was a long time ago and no one was keeping good records then. Though one could say here is another tragedy borrowed from Euripides and be completely correct. It is just that I've finally found the cocktail band right next to my grandparents' graves and the bar and I wish she was here. I wish she could hear them singing.

Dream with Phaedra

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We're in her car and she's driving again. Music on our lips. I can see that I love to sing with her. It's Christmas Eve. We're exchanging gifts crossing the longest bridge in Indiana. We're on our way to the Indigo Girls concert and I'm about fall out a dark window. After the accident, God makes me her opposite.

We're in her bedroom with the gnat piss and rotting China dolls. I'm reading her tarot cards when I turned her final outcome upside. Her mother suddenly appears in the room. She picks up the card and says, "you've made her life better," and smiles. "She doesn't even know we're talking."

Thing is, I don't even understand what she is saying because I'm all blue-glowy, brain-bounced wearing my grandfather's corduroy jacket. It must be 1995 and we're a string of pearls in Louisville at a Soul Asylum concert, holding a lighter at a Collective Soul concert – it doesn't matter where we go or what we do. I suddenly wake realizing we've actually never worked together. How did I get here? It is a strange epiphany to have and it happens around 2:30AM. I've not heard from her since July 26.

I'm back in the car again and the road is winding and dark and fast. She's pushing the gas and braking at the same time.

I lose my CD collection, a $50 brass pipe, a pair of pink sunglasses and my eyebrows in the wreck.

Dream with Phaedra

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I walk in on her and she has no money for gas. I walk in on her and she has no clean clothes. I walk in again and her daughter is making bread sandwiches. I keep walking. This is no dream. I tell myself to wake and now she has three dogs each larger than a sofa.

I walk in on her and her mother is dying. I walk in again and her husband is leaving. This is no dream. I write her letters because I cannot sleep. I tell myself to wake and now she is in jail.

I walk in on her and she is pacing. I dream she is out and sleeping in the rain. She's been robbed. She's been raped. She thinks she's resourceful. She thinks she's awake.

Dream with Phaedra

We both fell asleep listening to Bat For Lashes and had parallel dreams. This is the future so don't worry if you've not heard "The Haunted Man" yet because you will. I end up dancing to "Horses of the Sun" but we originally fell asleep listening to "Daniel" and dreamed we burned our childhood homes to the ground.

The details of the dreams have been saved from the fire. I'm just outside the apple orchard burning the trash. I see the plastic flames fall from the side of the barrel, onto my hand at first and then to the grass. It's a brushfire.

You're in your bedroom burning incense surrounded by heaps of trash covered in dust. You smoke a cigarette or a joint. You're about to combust. I'm not sure why. You keep it all inside. You tell me not to take photographs. You tell me your China dolls are melting to the wall.

Just two weeks prior someone had flicked a cigarette into the round bails along the sharp corner of the road. They burned for days. Mother has already called the volunteer fire department and we have burlap feed-sacks soaked in water, sparks in our faces. I'm about 8 in the dream but feel like I'm eighteen. I can hear the rabbits in their pens screaming.

By now, only your bed is not on fire and the silverfish have surrounded you. You think you're trapped. I think you just need to walk out.

You think I'm trying to back out from something I started. But by the time the fire department arrives, the house is already on fire.

I'm outside watching.
You're burned up inside.

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