By Ruth Nolan
A small hummingbird of The West
I cut fresh sage at the mouth of Wildrose Canyon,
brought it home to dry on the old wood stove.
I want to burn the fat string-wrapped bundles
So I can remember you, so I can forget about you
The kitchen table is full of stems and memories
Of hikes in the Panamints, but your knife is dull.
I’ve been hiking old and new desert trails alone;
the hills, the dunes, the wind, pending solar farms.
I had to go so far to find this year’s crop of sage.
Drought. The sky, blinded by technology’s stare.
You once tried to mend the broken furniture,
but wouldn’t hug our daughter or braid her hair.
Outside, the black-chinned hummingbird builds
its little nest in blades of a lone, far-north palm tree,
weaving together dried grass and other lost things,
threads of your flannel shirt that I still love to wear.
I wonder how long it will survive in the next hot
windstorm in this season without rain, a summer full
of huge mirrors and blades, if the fat turkey vultures
will pluck its young from fragile shells, then fly away.