She’s been sitting on the feeder
since first light, gathering herself,
I suppose, for the journey south.
I wonder if she slept there, waking
for a sip from time to time, adding
calories, planning her long, winged
trek through the mountains to the Gulf
and across the waters to Mexico.
Not for the first time do I consider
the courage of the hummingbird
at one-tenth of an ounce, the toll
it will take to travel 3,000 miles
to flee the cold of winter. Not
for the first time do I consider
the family she fed and raised,
protecting her little ones from
predators bent on death.
It is the first time I consider her lucky.
She will travel alone. She will not shepherd
her children along the way, coax them
to walk through a desert or push them
over mountains. She will not dry tears
of exhaustion, ration dwindling food
or wrap her sheltering arms to keep out
the cold. And she will not have them ripped
from those arms the moment she reaches
the haven she sought.
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