She was up late on the night before her twelfth birthday, reading a book on Greek mythology.  Crayoned gods stood on glossy clouds, heroes rode penciled horses into battle, chimerical creatures bared fangs and claws.  At the back of the book was a two-page spread of constellations.  She pressed her finger to the page and traced the horns of Taurus before moving on to the paws of Big Bear and Little Bear.  She then looked up from the book and gazed at the night through her closed window.  After a silent moment, she put the book aside, knelt on her bed and opened the window, feeling the warm summer air on her cheeks.  She scanned the sky for whatever star patterns she could locate above the glowing street lamps.  The waxing moon was colored-in to the point of stain.  There, in night’s black acres, poised with his club and shield raised, was Orion.  She recognized him from the book.  As she sat in her room, alone, in the shadow of the Hunter, she forgot how old she was, and that her birthday was tomorrow, and that her feet had ever walked upon the earth.  Her heart beat loudly in her ears.

Eons passed and she shook her head, and noticed that the clock on the wall approached midnight.  She got up from the bed and turned off the light.  She walked to the mirror attached to her dresser, leaned close to it and, with a finger, pulled down the skin beneath her right eye.  In the dark of her pupil she saw stars and comets, planets and galaxies, swirling and sparkling, reflected back at her.

***

Lindsey Warren is a graduate of Cornell University’s MFA program.  She has been published in Josephine Quarterly, American Literary Review and Hobart, among others.  Lindsey has been a finalist for the Delaware Literary Connection Prize and the Joy Harjo Prize.