“Hummingbird” by Sam Burt

Sam Burt


the counter filled with regulars, I tip
silently over its edge

a cork chirps in the bartender’s palm
as she unpierces its screw

squeak of wood against metal
of hand held to animal

sound of my father cupping
the cat-bloodied hummingbird

through our back lawn as its
wings beat

his hands like a heart

from Rattle #69, Fall 2020
Tribute to Service Workers


Sam Burt: “With no certainty on my future’s direction, and no prospects related to my Russian major, I began working at a deli immediately after finishing my undergrad. In the three years since, I have worked as a pastry chef and now as a cheesemonger. In the last week of my college education, I asked my poetry professor what he thought about pursuing graduate school immediately after college. He told me to spend two years working a menial, degrading job. If you find yourself turning back toward poetry, he said, then you know it’s the right path. About a year into my work in food service I felt that tug. I needed to express and create beyond my daily grind. I began working harder than ever on my poetry, reading more broadly and experimenting with tone and style and form. While working in food pays the bills, it most importantly drives me to reach for a future in poetry. I’ve just finished my graduate school applications and look forward to hearing back.” (web)

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