Hummingbird Bully by William Hathaway
It seems the rescued eagles
are now eating everyone elseís chicks,
just as that jeering mob of crows
said so from the git-go. I know a widow
who believes her husbandís soul
mustíve been embedded in a ruby-throat
that hovered in poignant suspension
before her screen door. So
whereís the birdís soul? I wondered
but didnít ask. Also stuck in there,
I guess, but as a willing or sullen host?
Embedded perhaps like the reporters
so honored to spit and smoke
alongside soldiers on their missions.
When Satan snugged into the snake,
I suppose the assumption was
snakes do without souls or other such
inner resources. There was the eagle
bedeviled by crows this morning
as he perched on a furthermost snag
over the cove waterfall, straight
as a sentry in his white and brown
puritan uniform. Stern as the icon
he has to be. Imperturbable
in the face of all that raucous hate.
Franklin called them lazy, but stealing
fish from osprey is no easy feat.
Turkey season came and went here,
and now only the female struts
languidly across our wildflower field
with eight fluffy chicks jittering
after her. Maybe three will make it.
Everyone hates us. Oderint
dum metuant? But when I held
the female hummingbirdís tiny corpse
betwixt thumb and forefinger
this morning, gored through her heart,
all iridescence fled, I admit
I was perplexed. Iíd thought it more
a game, that darting and treading air
against the sun. We, Iíd thought,
were the only ones who went that far.
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