Early Morning Dance

I always wear a red hat
when watering my garden
well before the hour
when mad dogs and Englishmen
go forth in the searing sun
for reasons known to them alone.

I looked succulent and sweet, perhaps,
a monkey flower full of promise,
seen from on high
where hummingbirds hang and grace the air
like poised curved shapes that Calder makes.

She swooped:
a quicksilver streak
hoping for a closer look
daring to meet me eye to eye
primed to be amused
by human nature’s ploys,
inclined to steal a bath.

Whirring quick minute wings,
hovering in the hose’s stream,
toy frame shimmering,
red throat humming fairie airs,
preening just for me.
Fan of feathers, gray and green
overlaid with mercury sheen:
A heartbeat on the wing.

Legend says humming birds were designed
from feathered scraps left behind
when God was done with bigger fowl.
Others claim humming birds to be
spritely messengers, aviary angels
made to soar between worlds miming
the invisible and sowing wordless songs
in the gardens of admirers.

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About the Author

Pat Murphy McClelland has taught “Writing for Healing” at the UC/SF Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her poetry appears in: blynkt; Chronicles of Eve; Caravel Literary Journal; Minerva Rising; ARAS Connections: Image and Archetype; Altadena Poetry Review; Feile-Festa Literary Journal; Atlas Poetica; and Lines&Stars;her essays appear in the anthology The Mentor that Matters, in Snapdragon Literary Journal, and in Evening Street Review.