Knees climb trees climb branches climb skies. I hear a gun shot. I haven’t met anyone before, I am still inside my mother’s belly. See me here, inside her outside in a picture from 1977. She’s wearing a ikat frock and her smile is Mona Lisa and her eyes are ancient Egypt and she’s got it all wrong so she thinks, the smile isn’t where she wants it to be, stretched and full of vowels, specifically u’s. Teeth aligned and sparkling, easy laughing sounds. Guttural. Ho ho ho. He he he. Ha ha ha. There I am inside her unlaugh, her unsmile. She covers her mouth when things get funny. She’s ashamed to feel joy, underserving. One day I will have to learn to smile from watching people other than my parents, by watching other people’s parents, kids at the playground, grandmothers swinging granddaughters on swings. Unabashed gigglers. I will look for genuine smiles, unstrained smiles, smiles that sit perkily on the face and work in unison with the eyes. Say cheese. I will see one day, if I fake a smile for too long, my mouth starts to quiver. My father hasn’t met me yet. These are developing hands, the blood in these veins is the blood of an unhatched eagle, a snapping turtle, which will then become a snack for the hatched eagle. These are the eyes of a peacock, a sailor, an outhouse. These eyes don’t know tears. These eyes work in rounds, night shifts, opening, closing, blinking. The first thing these eyes will see is a bright light and hospital blue, the crease in my mother’s arm, her hands, her eyes, her smile for real.