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Look, It's a Hummingbird!

Betsy Holleman Burke

Like the child who misses

the shooting star, I missed

the flash in the fuchsia lantana

my children's excited cries.


In the blink of an eye he was gone

but it simply wasn't possible,

hummingbirds were never here

they lived with us in Kiawah.


Sinking into a terrace chair I studied

the dozens of white butterflies

in the flowering chives, the pungent

oregano spilling over the stone wall,


tried to smile as friends

sought the right words

the funny stories to ease my pain,

make sense of your death.


I think of your hummer passion.

see you filling their feeders

with red sugar water

before you unpacked the hot car,


laughing your great laugh

from the Pawley's hammock

as they fought over the feeders,

chased other birds,

in and out of the Spanish moss,

fine silver hairnets draping the Live Oak.


You are besotted, I said,

just like them - beautiful, elusive

they need the next sugar high,

you need the next big case.


You want a heart that can beat

a hundred times a minute

powerful enough

to cross the Gulf of Mexico

This poem appears in Searching For Hummingbirds, an anthology by Betsy Holleman Burke


Photo From Audubon

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