When the hummingbird sinks its face into the trumpet vine
and the funnels of the blossoms, and the tongue leaps out and throbs,
I am scorched to realize once again how many small,
available things are in the world that aren’t pieces of gold or power–
that nobody owns or could buy even for a hillside of money–
that just float about the world, or drift over the fields,
or into the gardens, and into the tents of the vines and how here I am spending my time,
as the saying goes, watching until the watching turns into feeling
so that I feel I am myself
a small bird with a terrible hunger
with a thin beak probing and dipping
and a heart that races so fast it is only a heartbeat ahead of breaking
and I am the hunger and the assuagement
and also I am the leaves and the blossoms,
and, like them,
I am full of delight and shaking.


Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
A white cross
Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings
Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?