The Hummingbird Case

The design is elegant, the birds beautiful, delicate.
But their beaks should be knitting notes,
wings strumming light, not pinned unhumming
to a broken twig frame. Still.

Surely, anyone can see the holes in the filigree,
this lacework tree of feather and claws.
Only from a distance, death’s plumage
doesn’t seem so brittle, so torn.

Light plucks the feathers like strings
as they catch dreams from the sun,
shimmer with oceans, forests, skies…
What’s done is done. Yet,

even as I reach for the gleam
of these half-kiss scissor tails,
I feel its silence cut me.
I seize the beaks, tug them like pins. One pull and…

my stillness snaps their wings.

Sarah James, first published in Magma 48, November 2010.