“Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
In the palm of my hand, the hummingbird looked up at me with the calm of a summer night. Encountering such trust always melts my jaded heart; lures my inner mother bear out of her cave.
The exhausted Anna’s hummingbird had become tangled in rope of spiderwebs. Hummingbirds like to pluck bugs from webs like hors d’oeuvres served up on paper lace doilies. But this hummingbird’s soiree had almost turned into a death trap.
Resting in my hand, she felt like a dandelion puff roiling with concentrated energy. Hummingbird hearts beat 1260 times per minute, 12 times faster than human hearts. To power such an engine, she must eat about 7 times an hour, or starve to death.
I fed her by dipping my finger in sugar water and offering it to her beak. She drank instantly—with a tongue I could feel, but not see. A few sips later, she zipped out of sight. Far into the night, her optimism ran through my veins like lightning.
The hummingbird continues to flirt with death amongst our garden’s spiderwebs. I look at her perching on her favorite branch, pausing from her hunt for bug amuse-bouches and pomegranate flower nectar. She looks back at me.
What is the word for the crazy hope you feel at sunrise, that morphs into hope that cries in its beer by noon, pierces its own heart in the evening, and heals itself overnight to gloriously resurrect every morning? I believe the word is hummingbird.
Sharon Suzuki-Martinez’s first book, The Way of All Flux, won the New Rivers Press MVP Poetry Prize for 2010. Her work has recently appeared in Gargoyle, South Dakota Review, Duende, Okay Donkey, and elsewhere. She was a finalist in the 2018 Best of the Net anthology and was awarded a residency to the Anderson Center at Tower View, a fellowship to Kundiman, grants from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and a scholarship to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Originally from Hawaii, she now lives in Arizona.