Flight of the Hummingbird by Ellen Bihler

Flight of the Hummingbird
Ellen Bihler


A single note wavered against my bare skin,
like consciousness taking flight at a death.

When she got clean there was this
hummingbird trapped inside her head
that winged vibrations down her body,
all the way down
to pink paint-chipped toenails.

She’d shift this way and that in a chair,
limbs folding like origami mistakes.
And talking was hard –
that bird flew backwards sometimes.

Her marriage was a jackknifed
tractor-trailer, low down
in her back where pain cut
her clean in half.
“Christie you ‘aint nothin’ without me,”
he’d always say.

The children spun her down
to her bony knees –
then do something just cute enough
to get her up again.

So it was no surprise
when she extended her arm again,
and shot that hummingbird
straight through the heart,
and everything slumped boneless
like a cartoon body
along the contours of the couch.

© Jon Zowalki



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