“Rufous Hummingbird” by Amaris Feland Ketcham

Amaris Feland Ketcham


Selasphorus rufus

Dear Albuquerque Garden Center,
Last month I purchased a hummingbird feeder
for $19.95. It was just like the original Lawrence J. Webster
designed for his wife in Boston in 1929. I filled the feeder
with one part refined white sugar and four parts water.
Well, the homemade nectar has fermented in the July heat
and all the little birds swerve in the sky. They’re saying
the present doesn’t exist. What is a current moment
when your heart beats 1200 times per minute?
As Janis said from the train, Tomorrow never happens.
It’s all the same fucking day, man. Birds got their own
ball and chain. For the hummingbirds, it’s an improv
of locating yourself. Please hurry. Don’t walk.
Fly with 53 wingbeats per second, all in a figure 8,
a flapping Möbius strip. They’ve broken through infinity.
If your unshaven face flushes red with drink,
they’ll join you on the patio. They buzz by your ears
with sayings about the space-time, typically called “now,”
and ask you to ask yourself, “When am I?” When
you perceive the present, it’s already a recollection.
The rufous and I send you this thank you note
from the past; we will recommend the Webster feeder to all
our immediate friends who are happening over, over again.

from Rattle #50, Winter 2015


Amaris Feland Ketcham: “One of my favorite poets, Basho, is said to have advised a flock of students, ‘To learn about the pine, go to the pine. To learn about the bamboo, go to the bamboo. But this learn is not just what you think learn is. You only learn by becoming totally absorbed in that which you wish to learn.’ I write poetry to learn the pine.” (web)

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