Sometimes the Birds

Marissa McNamara

At our friends’ country house for a night,

we played cards and talked about next year’s

Christmas party as though the port in your chest


wasn’t there, as though your future was as certain

as ours. I woke early the next morning,

sat on their wrap-around porch, head bent

to my pen and paper, the distant hum


of an early mower or maybe a farmer

plowing his field in the background.

The song was warm and summer, and my eye caught

a quick flash dance around the hanging pots


of Fuschia, their shocking pink and ecstatic purple,

and there they were, the liquid green

hummingbirds, not the mowers or the farmers,

but these little bits of whirring joy that drink from flowers.

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Marissa McNamara teaches English composition and creative writing at Georgia State University and in local Atlanta prisons. She is also a contributing poetry editor for The Chattahoochee Review. Her work has appeared in several publications, including the anthologies On Our Own and My Body My Words and the journals RATTLE, Assisi, Melancholy Hyperbole, StorySouth, Future Cycle, The Cortland Review, and Amsterdam Quarterly. Marissa lives in Atlanta with her three crazy dogs, one very patient boyfriend, and a flock of pink plastic flamingos.