Summer/Fall 1997 • Vol. XIX No. 3/4 PoetryJuly 1, 1997 |

Hummingbird Garden

It is true, I have seen them from the deck of a boat a hundred miles out in the Gulf. They really do travel in little droves all the way from Texas, each bird no bigger than your thumb and heavy as a penny,    its wings iridescing a hundred beats a second. Some say this migration's mythical: how    could vessels so small and light survive the trip, even fattened up    for fuel?           Yet I've stood on the opposite shore in Mexico and seen them    coming, tiered gray drifts of tiny helicopters pulse and drone    over the water,    birds the size of butterflies. The Aztecs called them little jewels    a prize to grasp, balled in your fist, thumping, but more fantastical than real,    like that mechanical owl that could really fly, delivering true reports of life on earth to the gods. A woman told me once she made a hummingbird garden and I thought she was deranged—    as if she e

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