After my first year away
I came home to find a charm
of hummingbirds living
in my bedroom. They liked
the purple bougainvillea on the porch
and the fuchsia in the garden
my mother explained
admiring the birds’ good taste.
As if the flowers weren’t enough
she brought them insects every morning.
I slept in the guest room down the hall
and kept my distance
sensing something fragile.
But the night before I left
I stood in my old doorway
smelling the cold air drifting in
and surveyed the streaks of semi-solid waste
a desk of notebooks, lanyards, pens
faded posters of faded bands
the violin I rarely practiced
a stack of out of favor sweaters
a pair of shoes so cool I couldn’t wear them
and there in the top shelf of the closet
next to where I’d kept my weed
a nest of twigs and leaves and spider silk.
Out buzzed a long-billed protector
to hover at me with a wet black eye
for one long moment of bird vibrato.
I shut the door as gently as I could
and you already know I never opened it again.

Come to the Table
Touched by a Curve