“Even Hummingbirds Rest” by Sydney Cleland

Even Hummingbirds Rest

by Sydney Cleland

This poem was a F(r)iction Fall Literary Competition finalist.

Here’s one,
tiny wings stilled,
tip-toeing on a
rose of sharon twig
as dusk drapes us
in a humid breeze.
                           I suck in my breath.

Elsewhere my mother,
bound by a breathing
tube, rocks her tiny
bones while outside
a rose of sharon
turns its blue face
to evening.

On her television
              the center fielder
              drifts back and back,
              leaps off the warning track,
              secures the fly ball.

The seasonal ritual
bound to memory
since Crosley Park
with her dad.

Meanwhile, my hummingbird
              copters off the branch,
              streaks a line to the flaming
              bottlebrush bush,
              suckles there,

migratory preparation
encoded in sinew,
bone, and memory.

Alone,
I remember,
               and breathe.

Sydney Cleland is a native Georgian with the luck of a long marriage, two successful careers, and two children. She practiced environmental law at a large law firm and a waste company before spending time at home with her daughter and son (now 25 and 22). Following that, Sydney taught English literature and writing to seventh and eighth graders at Paideia School, a non-sectarian independent school in Atlanta, before leaving last year in search of yet a third act. Since then, she’s been a servant to Peaches the Basset Hound, fed her political junkie beast, and worked on writing.

Find her on Instagram: @sydneyc57.