A hummingbird quivers near the open window—
a brown violetear, Colibri delphinae,
flashes glimpses of its emerald throat, dips
into flowers—buries itself in a trembling bloom
while I answer the phone.
The landline crackles, her voice drips
anguish across the distance, decrying
pain, betraying pleasures,
confiding the nectar of guarded secrets,
the taste of hidden places.
She tells of laying her heart on a blood-gilded platter,
bursting free of her Styxian anchor to ride, wild,
the current toward its perilous falls.
Washing up on the shores of a star-filled night,
she barely slept. Still raw.
The phone trembles with her confusion.
But I have heard this before. Watched it coming.
Night after night. Morning into morning.
There is nothing more I can say.
It is not guidance she wants, but an ear.
I switch to the portable, and follow the bird,
a marvel of frenetic grace
who does not speak of midnight walks and salty air,
of unlocked doors and rendezvous,
of cigars and dreams and bittersweet smoke,
and the painful smell of waking alone.
The violetear, the violet tear, floats in a blur
toward a crimson blossom
just above my grasp,
invites a closer look,
shows me the space between the beats.
Seattle native Kathryn M. Huber studied in Portland, OR, then New York City, where she worked for a decade before moving to South America with her Peruvian husband. After working in Costa Rica, Bolivia, Atlanta, and Peru, they recently moved to Maryville, TN. Huber’s work has been published in journals such as Poydras Review, Vice-Versa, Earth Island Journal, Post Road, MacGuffin, and Amarillo Bay. She wrote and co-produced an award-winning documentary about deforestation in the Nazca region. Her extensive research into the Nazca culture and the region’s fragile ecosystem resulted in a novel now looking for a home.