Here’s what happened: The day that you were born, the sun shone through the leaves on the maple trees, leaves that had turned from green to yellow a few weeks early, just as you were turning towards something new ten or twelve days before you were expected. So the sunbeams pierced the air between those yellow handprints, so soft and delicate on the tips of the trees that they gave no hint that they might float down, fall, crepitate and crunch under foot. The wind whipped up the smell of campfires so that every September afterwards you wanted to celebrate your birthday with marshmallows toasted that perfect caramel color that only our father had the patience to coax from the coals. It was warm in there, in that cozy womb, but small and cramped, smaller than usual, too, because there were two of you, folded alongside one another and pressed against the uterine wall. Snug, you smelled through layers of skin and tissue and blood and fluid the smell of firewood smoke and you felt the warmth of the sun through the leaves, and you thought the earth seemed like a miracle, like an invitation, so you held your breath and made a wish, and in you came.

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