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Tony Gentry

Hummingbird Poem

Updated: May 17

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.

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