When mama made me, she say her and daddy went at it all winter long just like two skinny forest sticks rubbin’ together to make a fire. “We made a fire alright,” she says, “you!” I like when she says this ’cause I like thinking of myself as a fire. Mama says when she told daddy that their winter foolin’ was gonna bring them an autumn baby, daddy just shrugged and told her autumn wasn’t no time for baby havin’ what with all them leaves to rake and him getting ready to start college. “Can’t be mindin’ a baby and studying at the same time,” daddy said and closed the door on mama’s face. Mama didn’t pay daddy no mind, though. She said daddy could go off to college, but she was gonna have me anyway— her little fire that’s what she called me. And she hid me well, hushed up her growing belly with layers of winter clothes and kept out of her folks’ way ’cause she knew her mama and aunts would drag her to some place in an alleyway where they did away with babies. So there I was, quiet, inside of mama. There I was— a fire burning under mama’s winter school clothes, then burning under her spring blouses, then under her loose summer dresses, then under her autumn jacket ’til the time came. And no one found out either ’til mama was hunched over the kitchen sink— hollering from the little fire in her belly.