Letter to a Ruby-throated Rambler

ruby throated hummingbird in flight
Little bird, isn’t it time you come north again?
The nights here have stopped their dips
and plummets into cold; our days are almost hot
now, pleasant in the cherry tree’s shade 
where last you perched. Over the courtyard

         we’ve restrung the lights you like 
         to sentry and swing, watchdogging 
         the feeders as if they’re filled with gold. 
         After suppertime we bring our own nectar
         and wait for the show—slick stunts,

   frenzied flying, throttled thrills-yet-never-
   spills—frontwards, backwards, even 
   upside down. We want it all. But you 
   haven’t appeared, and we miss the way 
   you shear our wickered chair evenings. 

         O hovering wonder, come make a home.
         Build your nest of spider’s silk
         and lichen. Lay your jelly bean egg. 
         O poet’s namesake, genus Archilochus,
         of course your flock is called a bouquet,

   a glittering, a shimmer, a tune.
   O hummer, iridesce our summer.
   The sugar water’s mixed and waiting 
   your elegant bill, your rapid tongue. 
   I wear a red hat, that you might believe

I’m a flower. Hover with your face
at mine, chee-ditting chee-ditting 
your charms. Plumage our season
with your engine’s fast little hum.
Come. Electrify the heavy air.

Kory Wells

Kory Wells is the author of Sugar Fix, poetry from Terrapin Books. Her writing has been featured on The Slowdown podcast from American Public Media and in The Strategic Poet, the Parks & Points anthology Wayfinding, The Wild Word, and elsewhere. A former poet laureate of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, she nurtures community through arts, advocacy, and storytelling.