29Signe rose from cupronickel sleep into her 29th year. Raw, newly ored. The trick this year was to stay malleable. Last year, her nickel year, she was hard and slow to react, drawing others to her without melding. Signe’s village neighbors had all passed through their copper year before her, and Signe had been hungry for it: the freedom to be verdigris—beautified by weathering, protected by corroding. The year ahead was open as a prairie, an endless age before she brassed into her zinc year, a bitter and brittle one to be sure. Placing a penny in each shoe, Signe stepped out of her cottage and into the wet winter fog. She followed the dirt road, which after a time became a paved road. Into the city, into the shining city, dreaming of some tin soul to bronze with, some livewire to plate herself around and conduct into electric night.
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