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You were born under a fire Sky. California burning. Smokey brown haze and a deep red sun hanging like a foreign star on the horizon. You were born in an unprecedented time: global pandemic, racial unrest, the most abysmal governing body our generation has seen. You were born into a country spinning dissension and hate. As I contracted and writhed, I remembered the words of doula Patti. “Auspicious souls are growing inside of you,” she had said to our Zoom pregnancy group. “They are blooming into being in this time of change, bringing forth the energy of the future.” She seemed so sure. At the time, I thought, that’s a nice thing to say. But isn’t it just bad luck to be pregnant during a pandemic? Isn’t it just sad to bring a fresh soul into this decaying world? Aren’t you just trying to make me feel better? I never much liked the word. Auspicious. Too ethereal, or convenient. Mystical, pre-ordained. Deep into my third trimester I looked up the origin of the word. It is from the Latin, auspex, which means “bird seer.” Refers to oracle types in Ancient Rome who would watch the patterns of the birds and from them make prophecies. I liked that: the simplicity of consulting the birds in the sky. On the Thursday of your birth, I looked out the long glass windows of the birthing room at that sun red as Jupiter, the palm trees still, the smoke clouds bursting. The gulls and crows were heading out to sea for cleaner air, spreading word that the world must change, making way. Your omen. I felt you pushing down, preparing for your entrance. I knew at once that you were nothing like the burning world. Auspicious soul I thought as you entered this realm with one cry. Innocent and free. You’ll burst with light through this diseased planet. True to the fictional messiah that your dad is so glad we named you for. You’ll clear this ashen sky to blue.

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