I love this poem by the incredible writer, Cathy Park Hong (1976-), whose 2020 essay collection Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning is probably the book I reccomended most last year and urge you to all to read.
“A Wreath of Hummingbirds”
I suffer a different kind of loneliness.
From the antique ringtones of singing
wrens, crying babies, and ballad medleys,
my ears have turned
They resurrect a thousand extinct birds,
Emus, dodos, and shelducks, though some,
like the cerulean glaucous macaw,
could not survive the snow. How heavily
they roost on trees in raw twilight.
I will not admire those birds,
not when my dull head throbs, I am plagued
by sorrow, a green hummingbird eats
with its stinging needle beak.
Then I meet you. Our courtship is fierce
in a prudish city that scorns our love,
as if the ancient laws of miscegenation
are still in place. I am afraid
I will infect you
after a virus clogs the gift economy:
booming etrade of flintlock guns sag.
Status updates flip from we are all
connected to we are exiles.
when in that same prudish city,
they have one exact word to describe
of their sorrow, when they always
and eat noodles during white days
of rain, in one long table,
though not all.
As a boy, my father used to trap
little brown sparrows, bury them in
and slowly eat the charred birds alone
in the green fields, no sounds,
no brothers in sight.
Holiest are those who eat alone.
Do not hurt them, do not push them,
do not even stare at them, leave
them to eat alone, in peace.