“The Hummingbird: A Seduction” by Pattiann Rogers

If I were a female hummingbird perched still
and quiet on an upper myrtle branch
in the spring afternoon, and if you were a male
alone in the whole heaven before me, having parted
yourself, for me, from cedar top and honeysuckle stem
and earth down, your body hovering in midair
far away from jewelweed, thistle, and bee-balm;

And if I watched how you fell, plummeting before me,
and how you rose again and fell, with such mastery
that I believed for a moment you were the sky,
and the red marked-bird diving inside your circumference
was just the physical revelation of the light’s
most perfect desire;

And if I saw your sweeping and sucking
performance of swirling egg and semen in the air,
the weaving, twisting vision of red petal
and nectar and soaring rump, the rush of your wing
in its grand confusion of arcing and splitting
created completely out of nothing just for me;

Then when you came down to me, I would call you
my own spinning bloom of ruby sage, my funneling
the storm of sunlit sperm and pollen, my only breathless
piece of scarlet sky, and I would bless the base
of each of your feathers and touch the tine

Of string muscle binding your wings and taste
the odor of your glistening oils and hunt
the honey in your crimson flare,
and I would take you and take you and take you
deep into any kind of nest you ever wanted.

Pattiann Rogers
Song of the World Becoming:
New and Collected Poems, 1981-2001

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