Writing a poem is one of the ways to love the world.
Stephen Dobyns

The hummingbird, dressed for dinner
in ruby cravat and emerald tuxedo,
samples first the red, then yellow,
then the purple flowers, their colors
throbbing in the heat of August.

Does it matter that I’ve lost their names?
Botany is a science after all,
and my careful schoolgirl drawings
of pistil, sepal, stamen,
were full of right-brain love,
not evidence of scientific literacy.

This bird—sommelier of summer’s wine,
connoisseur of color, tiny rocket,
wind-up toy—cares nothing for taxonomy,
who won last night’s state senate race
nor who will be elected president
in November when summer is no more.

This one-ounce wonder,
aerial artiste now hovering mid-air
on a flying trapeze of whirring wings,
cares only for the botany of desire.

Each bloom deflowered
with hypodermic accuracy.
Each little death a metaphor
needing no further analysis.

Angela Patten is author of three poetry collections, In Praise of Usefulness (Wind Ridge Books), Reliquaries and Still Listening, both from Salmon Poetry, Ireland, and a prose memoir, High Tea at a Low Table (Wind Ridge Books). Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, she teaches at the University of Vermont.