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beija-flor :: diane ackerman

by on June 15, 2016

(Hummingbird)

When you kiss me, moths flutter in my mouth;
when you kiss me, leaf-cutter ants lift up
their small burdens and carry them along
corridors of scent; when you kiss me,
caymans slither down wet banks in moonlight,
jaws yawning open, eyes bright red lasers;
when you kiss me, my tiny fist conceals
the bleached skull of a sloth; when you kiss me,
the waters wed in my ribs, dark and pale
rivers exchange their potions—she gives him
love’s power, he gives her love’s lure;
when you kiss me, my heart, surfacing, steals
a small breath like a pink river dolphin;
when you kiss me, the rain falls think as rubber,
sunset pours red caramel down my spine
and, in my hips, the green wings of the jungle flutter;
when you kiss me, blooms explode like land minds
in trees loud with monkey-muttering
and the kazoo-istry of birds; when you kiss me,
a palm cradling the moon in its arms becomes
a pictograph for leisure; when you kiss me
my flesh sambas like an iguana; when you kiss me,
the river-mirror reflects an unknown land,
eyes glitter in the foliage, ships lass
like traveling miracle plays, and coca sets
brush fires in my veins; when you kiss me,
the river tilts its wet thighs around a bend;
when you kiss me, my tongue unfolds its wings
and flies through shadows at a leaf-nosed bat,
a ventriloquist of the twilight shore
which hurls its voice against the tender world
and aches to hear its echo rushing back;
when you kiss me, anthuria send up
small telescopes, the vine-clad trees wear
pantaloons, a reasonably evitable moon
rises among a signature of clouds,
the sky fills with the pandemonium
of swamp moneys, the aerial slither
and looping confetti of butterflies;
when you kiss me, time’s caravan pauses
to sip from the rich tropic of the heart,
find shade in the oasis of a touch,
bath in Nature carnal, mute and radiant;
you find me there trembling and over-awed;
for, when you kiss me, I become the all
you love; a peddler on your luminous river,
whose salted-fish are words, daughter
of a dolphin; when you kiss me, I small
of night-blooming orchids; when you kiss me,
my mouth softens into scarlet feathers—
an ibis with curved bill and small dark smile;
when you kiss me, jaguars lope through my knees;
when you kiss me, my lips quiver like bronze
violets; when you kiss me. . . .

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From → poems

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