Childhood, the first eternity, as I wandered our vast acre, trying to escape the sun. How lonely it seemed with no children nearby, just my sister, an insistent mouth at Mother’s worried breast. Catalpa trees fanned their leaves like aunts trying to save their powder from streaking. No clambering into their narrow laps. The pear oozed like a teenager craggy with acne, its bark a magnet for columns of ants. I circled the firs and stroked the knees of elm and oak, giants in conversation as the wind riffled their hair. Only the apple tree was short and broad enough to harbor this restless climber. Its cool fire surrounded me as I climbed into flowered lace and huddled in the second crook, watching leaves, then apples, sweeten on stems, here where all the trouble began, in the garden of the heart. At night I dreamed the whole miracle again, an explosion of green branching into darkness, and yet I wanted more, some escape from what I was, from what my parents wanted me to be. Come morning I’d drape myself along a limb like a python, inhale the husky perfume, stroke the swollen fruit, as if this had always been my home.