Hummingbird

Jackboots crack on pavement top
echoes of wings in the undercurrent.
Dark, heavy silence
cut only by the flurried fists
which hover, dart, knock
in the night.
Flashes of color,
rank and status,
allow them to pretend awhile longer
that this could never happen
to them.
They laugh as they sip their sweet nectar
which tastes only faintly of fear, for now.
So hush, my little one.
They won’t come for us.
Tonight.

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Blood Money

I remember once when I was young –

my father took me with him to the market,

which seemed so sad to my eyes.

I had gently, tenderly picked up those brown eggs,

warm from feathers recent touch,

and put them in his basket.

And he told me: not to worry.

These would never become

the soft, chirruping chicks I followed round the yard in spring.

And I always wondered –

How did he know?

Is that part of the magic of being father,

to know who will grow up and who will not?

What did he see in me.

And when he exchanged those eggs that would never be anything

for the dollars they had folded in their pockets,

I did not understand why he would trade away mystery and life.

I almost did not take the bill he offered me.

And I remember wandering the stalls,

choosing so carefully, what I might get in return

for my father’s blood money.

I can’t remember what I bought.

Murmuration

Murmuration:

1)      n. the act of murmuring; a low indistinct sound

2)      – of starlings: n. a flock

She had lain quietly,

she did not speak or even meet my eye

after I told her

I was leaving.

It wasn’t until I got up to go,

because the silence had become so loud

that it hurt to stay any longer

and if I was being honest,

I had not wanted to come at all,

that she finally opened her mouth.

I assumed she meant to speak, to yell perhaps,

to condemn, berate, beg, plead, curse,

But the sound that fell from her lips was soft

as the whisper of feathers.

It was the hushed flight of wings.

It broke my heart.

As the starlings began to free themselves,

struggling one by one

to make their way over her tongue,

clawing their way past her lips,

dropping into her hands

before launching into the air

like a waterfall of grey plumage they continued

seeming to scream

“Go.” “Go.”

So I turned and left her there,

with her collective of starlings,

all her pent-up, unused words,

her murmuration.