Hummingbirds
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Hummingbirds

red and green and black

lie as gemstones

dead in the cold.


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Let me tell you a story.

Winter breaks the sea on jagged rocks
while we drink away our summer’s wine.
The day grows and windmills spin
heavy, turning gold at noon.
Dally not, take this sunshine. Reach–
hold the night at bay before it slips
away into the sea. Even now it flees,
slips away to Lethe’s memory
leaving smokestacks in its wake.

But that was then. Let me tell you of now.

Snow swirls, boundless and even,
and I was called the man with no fortune.
Look at me now, dancing
graceful, silent, on shoes with no blades.
We skate where the summer grows long
on melted slush, with water-numbed toes
where winter has slipped inside.

Let us return to then.

A heavy heart beats, grey and brackish brown in the chest of a corpse
on an operating table where machines beep their final resignation.
Outside, the sea, where the ice has gone
holds theater to fish dressed in mourning grey
seeking death by sunlight.

Let us consider the now.

One cannot know of suffering until they have seen the sea:
with glistening plastic-sand, stiff crusted nets, bauble-choked fish
rolling in with the tide.
When we walk the beach
you in your suit, me in my coat and bladeless shoes
and feel the plastic-bloated fish bellies pop
beneath our heels
will you cry?
When we go into my home,
past the foyer, past the aquarium tank
packed with endangered coral
to see fresh-caught tuna, ready and cooked for dinner,
will you weep?

And then.

Avalanche lilies grow in the peaks
crimson, gold, platinum in the dawn
and a single hunter’s boot comes down:
squelch go the roots.
The day grows, the snow reflects
and in blinding sunlight
the pines crackle with fire
borne from careless smoke.

Now.

Ah, the suffering of wildflowers. But what of the fish?
And the nets
and the hundred bottom-trawlers
dragging dolphins to the table
disguised as tuna?
Will we weep
when they are drowned?
Tears cast no shadows in water, but
the effort redeems even the darkest of hearts.

There is nothing to do, you know.
You bang on the table
curse the ships
damn the hunters.
But as permafrost turns to slush
hummingbirds freeze in the tropics
lilies brown and rot in the heights
which will you choose
for your sorrow?
There is too much to despair.

Do not cry for the world. Weep for yourself,
know, selfish,
with tuna on the table
and dug-up lilies dying in pots,
that you do not care.

Finally, tomorrow.

The damage is done. Broken glass rests,
edges dulled by a ceaseless tide. Those dead yet slumber
and skirt stygian blues, seek greater depths.
In the waves, the ice floes reform, and glaciers creep like cats
and heavy their fur with slush. These are better days, and soon
even hummingbirds will return.

For alpine flowers crushed today are bulbs
who suffer today’s indignities for spring.


i like worms! yes i do. the immortal kind are best.
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