Meeting My Nieces on Zoom to Watch Animal Live-Cams

At first all that moved was the Chesapeake Bay itself
and a strip of blue plastic that whipped like a flag
in the middle of the nest, so I clicked on “grizzly
fishing in the Kenai” instead—so many salmon leaping
we were surprised how long it took the bear to catch one,
but it did, turning away from the falls to pull the fish apart
in long strips like a fruit, which Georgia found not gross
but interesting, and when we clicked back to the Bay,
the osprey was there on its nest, turning its head into the wind,
looking all around. We wondered what it was waiting for,
whether it saw the camera, how it was we knew
it was uneasy, and Mary Kate wondered how old it was,
was it the baby or the parent, and Georgia said,
This osprey is old—I can tell by its eyes. And when
we saw its crown of feathers, its pale feet, Mary Kate said
it was a ghost, and I asked why, and all of us agreed
it was because it looked a little mean. My nieces Zoomed
from separate forts in their basement, their blanket caves
so dark they looked like ghosts themselves in the blue light.
When we watched jellyfish, Mary Kate wondered if they
dreamed of land, and Georgia wondered in what sense
they might hear, without ears. And Mary Kate said
they look like a coral reef, and Georgia said they look
like skirts with no bodies in them, and I said they look
like eyes with long lashes, and Mary Kate connected the dots
to extend that thought, creating a future of conversations
to live for, and then my nieces’ voices started breaking up,
the connection lagged—I couldn’t really hear what they
were saying, but we stayed on anyway for a long time,
each of us studying the others’ moves for signs and listening
slantwise to the sounds we made, trying our best
to make sense to each other for as long as possible.

Read on . . .

Confessions: My Father, Hummingbirds, and Frantz Fanon,” poetry by Benjamin Alire Sáenz


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