The Birth of Hummingbird
...the seed for me, a dustball of feathers.
My mother, poor peasant woman, found me in dirt
Chocolate-eyed, snake-brained woman, she saved me,
Parting her skirt, she saved me inside.
Warm there my mind lay,
Her sons were disturbed; my sister distressed.
I grew like a squash in that much-planted belly.
Four hundred brothers (cultured barbarians stole my story
Four hundred brothers (quads, even quintuplets
Four hundred brothers (my privacy rankling while I
Four hundred brothers, joined with their sister
And then, when her belly groaned and creaked,
Joined in the slaughter by my sister's s minions:
But I sprang from the live cave
I raised my strong hands
Her child full-grown;
Plainly the match for an
I licked them all up with the blade then like insects
brothers and bats,
monkeys and dogs,
My sister fled screaming, my black-toothed rage.
I'd slaughtered four hundred
But my mother was slain in the fray.
Where she fell, blood ran from split loins.
Blood ran in two streams from the stump
While I watched contrite,
The blood rose up round and swaying
And took shape and color
but all native colors,
And the columns were suddenly snakes
As I watched
My two eyes like needles,
The dead body rose, new-shaped and new-lived,
Their faces together, lip against lip,
Their eyes are her eyes,
And their chins are her lip,
The whole face bisected,
And she sent me, sweet sister,
And I came here, sweet sister,
I came then, to whisper to you
that no beast enamoured of you
I came now to choose the skin I should pierce
Where shall it be?
Over the eyesherecleaving your soul
Hereinto the blue-purple stripe
Just in the throat's sweet hollowhere
Arcing up here to sip heart's blood like nectar
Lower still, down intoNo.
Into the burning red flower, deep in the pumping calyx.
And then, in my shape as a man,
My black blade rising and falling
I reached with a firm grip
I worked so, wary of snakes coiled on each limb like live bracelets;
I worked so, croaking my love like some dark bird of prey all the while.
And the great square shadow shaded my hands
And it leaned its split head down only to me