On a screen, I watched a mother seabird
watch her second chick hatch.
It worked its way out: dark beak
and stubbled flesh
lying exhausted, prone, all the wrong
angles. Food had been lean,
the narrator said.
The mother preened,
positioned herself—the babies
need shade to survive the early days—
the first chick underneath her,
the second a few inches away
in the sun. They remained that way,
the nest really just the ground.
At the time, I was ten. I left the room.
The camera crew stuck around.
My parents tried to explain how it might be ugly,
but it made sense.
I, their eldest,
Alison Gaines is a poetry MFA candidate at the University of Florida, where she works with Michael Hofmann, William Logan, and Ange Mlinko. She has a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Knox College. She is originally from Vancouver, Washington. Previous publications include several educational titles for students, such as Invasive Birds and Plants from Cavendish Square.