The Cedarville Review 2024

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 7 months—and there is light, more than I could imagine existing in the world, and breath. I am a cone-headed, red-faced creature, kicking at random in the vast expanse. I don’t know how to write about the babies who were never born, or never conceived. I only know what came next. My earliest memory is waking up in the back of our red Passat, parallel parked in front of our new house in West Virginia. I knew, waking up, that it was our new house, but if I had only my memory to rely on, I would have no idea where I had come from. I remember the house painter who came periodically after that, and I remember the wallpaper he and my parents left up—cream with delicate diamond patterns traced in red or navy, depending on the room. When I try to look more closely, the shapes blur. I remember walking downstairs with my mom some time later, feeling whiny for some reason and asking her to carry me. She said no, it would hurt her. She was near full-term with my next sister, Eden, who is now twenty years old. I remember the bunk bed I shared with my twin. I remember enjoying how gently I stepped down the ladder in the mornings so that I could be the fi rst one awake, and I remember the crib mattresses we slept on at fi rst, before my parents were comfortable putting us in beds. I remember falling down the porch steps as though I had watched it happen to someone else, the front wheel of my tricycle slipping over the edge and the rest following. Even now, I don’t like to think about how it bounced on the way down.