Beija-Flor (Hummingbird) , Diane Ackerman

I’m on a hummingbird kick lately…not literally, so I thought I’d find a poem about hummingbirds. But somehow, even though the title of this poem is hummingbird, it doesn’t have any hummingbirds in it.  Hmmm…poetry is confusing…

Beija-Flor (Hummingbird) 

When you kiss me, moths flutter in my mouth;

when you kiss me, leaf-cutter ants lift up

their small burden and carry them along

corridors of scent; when you kiss me,

caymans slither down wet banks in moonlight,

jaws yawning open, eyes bright red lasers;

when you kiss me, my tiny fist conceals

the bleached skull of a sloth; when you kiss me,

the waters wed in my ribs, dark and pale

rivers exchange their potions–she gives him

love’s power, he gives her love’s lure;

when you kiss me, my heart, surfacing, steals

a small breath like a pink river dolphin;

when you kiss me, the rain falls thick as rubber,

sunset pours red caramel down my spine

and, in my hips, the green wings of the jungle flutter;

when you kiss me, blooms explode like land mines

in trees loud with monkey-muttering

and the kazoo-istry of birds; when you kiss me,

a palm cradling the moon in its arm becomes

a pictograph for leisure; when you kiss me

my flesh sambas like an iguana; when you kiss me,

the river-mirror reflects an unknown land,

eyes glitter in the foliage, ships pass

like traveling miracle plays, and coca sets

bush fires in my veins; when you kiss me,

the river tilts its wet thighs around a bend;

when you kiss me, my tongue unfolds its wings

and flies through shadows as a leaf-nosed bat,

a ventriloquist of the twilight shore

which hurls its voice against the tender world

– Diane Ackerman


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