I’m on the 17th floor again
across the lot from my balcony window
is a 30-story building
and I can see a dozen or so apartments
lit up against the light sky
like little televisions.
One man is turning sausages on a grill
while his wife pours the wine
A teenager has her phone in her hand
a laptop in her lap
and a crime drama on the big screen
but she’s only looking at her phone
A couple is kissing in their bedroom
and then the lights go out
A lonely woman has been staring out her window
at the city for as long as I have.
I watch them
and all I can think about are
the zoo exhibits I saw today.
Each sign gave the animal’s name
listed its diet and mating habits
and whether they were merely at risk in the wild
or critically endangered
because the humans keep taking up more space.
A rockhopper penguin with yellow-feathered eyes
cried in pleasure as her mate scratched her back with his beak
A red river hog tugged at a metal fixture with his jaws
releasing a stream of water into his mouth
A komodo dragon sprawled over four rocks at one
stretched wide and taking up the maximum amount of space
A baby bactrian camel carelessly watched
as adults chew straw, causing their humps to sway.
I pretend, projecting each animal exhibit
into each window of the tall building
seeing animals instead of humans.
It’s entertaining, but really, mostly the same.
In casual conversation today
I told a woman I was from America
she made a disappointed sound by clicking her tongue
and told me how sorry she was
then walked away.
I think she meant it.