I call my sister on Christmas.
Want to talk to Uncle Mat? my
sister says to her son, my seven year old nephew
I’ve never met.
Then he’s on the phone.
What did you get for Christmas? I say.
Oh yeah?  I say.  Yeah?
Games I’ve never heard of.

And then my sister gets on the phone again
and tells me how smart the kid is
and we talk about some funny things
that happened as we grew up.

I can imagine a parent’s joy
and the sadness too
of so many old mothers
and I laugh
because she is my sister
and she wants her child
to know me.

I don’t remind her
about the other part of me,
the part that hopes the boy might
start lighting fires
for no apparent reason

or begin talking
in some strange language

or just walk off
one day
without a word.