Don't tell me I didn't see it, the red flower budding,that radiant tiny shirt our hibiscus pulled onto celebrate the summer. Don't tell me the bloom was not—because it was—starting to open in the handsof clean light this morning, when I saw it rustle,fan out its tail, try out its wings, and flutter.Then he turned and tipped his black bibtoward our hedge, tucked up his feet, and shapedhis fist-size body to an arrow, trusting air.Listen, I know the facts, why he couldn't have.But I heard the red hibiscus blossom beat,rest, thrash, take wing across our yard and settleat the feeder. There he grasps the perchwith his gray feet and cocks his head and bobshis flamey crest and cracks a sunflower seedin his fat rosy beak. Call him a fiestafor the eye, the highest note in the songmy voice can't reach, but still somehow can sing.He takes the green world into his body,turns everything he sees a furious scarlet,as if it's easy. And how could it be otherwise?
Jeanne Murray Walker teaches at the University of Delaware. Her most recent book is Helping the Morning: New and Selected Poems.
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