Hummingbird Poem

My friend dying
on the mountain emailed
talk of hummingbirds
some of the last sweet
creatures she will see.

Wrote me last week not to worry:
“Only continuing my years’ long
evaporative process.”

In this season of our confinement
she sits with my friend her husband
on their porch and tears fall
with no more shame than the rain
spattering the trees.

She has planned it all with a kind of hope
that something like this would come along
some way to share it alone with him
no visitors to spruce up for, no pies
to nibble and throw out, no long sad looks
from those of us still breathing without gasps.

Her head cocks listening
at the flit, squinting eyes marvel
at the sliver tongue sipping
from the livid blossom’s drip.

All the thousand things that persist
as he cups her fuzzy head in one hand
to plump her pillow and she wonders
if she’s smiled in thanks but leaves it
over to trust because after all
that is what we have left
in the darkness in the naked world
when at last we surrender to sleep
and the next thing after that. 

She might be awake when hovering
for what seems like a pause
in time the little hummingbird
she could swear it
takes her measure
nods its glistening head
deftly turns its needled beak
like a pointer on a compass

and zooms away as if to say
the truly interesting
the nectar you seek
it’s over here come see.

7 thoughts on “Hummingbird Poem

  1. Oh, my. This is utterly beautiful. And it reminds me so much of my sister, who died on a mountaintop outside of Chattanooga while hummingbirds clustered outside her window. Yes, it is sad. But underneath it all, there is peace. May your friend find that peace, Tony, and you as well.


  2. last week and again today i thanked sarah for sharing her friends with me. one of the very best things about our move to glen allen has been the opportunity to spend time with lynette and margaret and adele and alice and you. she was a magnet for wonderful friends!

    great is your faithfulness.

    blessings, a



  3. I love the Hummingbird Poem, and the Note from KatyM. I have a Hummingbird Feeder outside of my Kitchen Window! Watching the Hummingbirds are absolutely amazingly beautiful!
    Sarah E. Kilgore-Link


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