The Wings of Hummingbirds

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The Wings of Hummingbirds

They break my heart,
these delicate wings of hummingbird
strewn on my porch
with a tiny head displaying one beak,
one eye.

Stripped of adornment,

one slight hummingbird
would hardly make a meal for a cat—
especially one recently fed at my kitchen door. 

Where was I when this travesty

was committed,
carried out by  a cat
true to its nature
and therefore bearing no sin?

I was out back,
 filling the hummingbird feeder left by guests,
though I prefer the natural sight
of hummingbirds feeding at the aloe blossoms
or thunbergia or frangipani.
 
 In the fenced backyard,
the dogs create a territory safe from cats,
but what am I to do about the obelisco plant I love so much in front—
 the one spied every day with a new bloom
as I walk past it to my car? 
What’s to be done for the royal poinciana,
seventeen years old,
spreading its shelter over street and wall and front garden alike?
A dangerous draw in a yard frequented by cats.
What’s to be done?
Defrock the area they roam in to make it hummingbird-free?

That double-pronged nature of cats—
their beauty and their savagery––
displayed so vividly in man himself of late––
 can it be anything but plan?
And to what purpose?
We love the ways of nature but turn our back on half of them,
hoping they will not be demonstrated in our lives.
Until that one last fatal claw of fate descends upon us
and we fall into that scheme, resisting,
but our efforts futile.

Why are endings necessary?
Why must our hearts be broken
 time and again
before they themselves are the breaking thing
and we pass into nature,
undivided, part of a whole both savage and tragic in its beauty. 
Here is the hummingbird whole.
 The cat whole.
Here are we, whole, observing them.
That has to be enough. 
The now. This look.
This touch. This satiation for the moment.
The hummingbird before the slaughter,
the bone before the break.

15 thoughts on “The Wings of Hummingbirds

  1. koolkosherkitchen

    Very sad, but so is life. I know someone who tried to make her cat vegan. Cat got sick. Vet said, “Lady, you can be whatever you want, but cats are carnivores, and they don’t buy into your politics.” Lady is heartbroken, but cat is back on normal cat diet and feeling fine.

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  2. Marilyn Armstrong

    Try belling as many cats as you can. That sometimes helps. Otherwise, the vast majority of song and garden birds are killed by housecats. It’s one of the reasons many of us don’t let our cats out. I got really weary of finding parts of birds in various places in the house.

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