It’s an accident that I’m alive. Every day since this was burned in my eye at age 13 has been, as they say where I come from, lagniappe:

Mrs. Reese’s First Period Reading class. Roll call. Settling noises. I’m drawing Aquaman’s new costume on the marble-textured inside flap of my green folder. I have drawn it four times, when a firecracker goes off behind me and my hair stands on end and my neck feels hot.