November 16, 2013

Kenny Williams

THE HUMMINGBIRD

Before they gave a concert
the Greeks would drop copper pots
on marble floors, so
you could hear the silence
reassembling itself, a blank space
for the flute. More like
what we’d call a kazoo.
And what’s with the hummingbird
planted in the mouth?
My mother used to fill a feeder
with water and sugar
and turn up her crooked but decidedly
feminine thumbs.
“The ones that come are this big,”
she would say, for those
of us who won’t rest without removing
our mothers’ hands
with precision saws,
who want to scream
but are afraid to shatter
the silence in which
we’ll have to bite our tongues and hand
their old hands back to them,
priceless pairs
of antique cups
they want to drink from
but can only drop.

from Rattle #39, Spring 2013
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