Watercolour by David Chorlton

A hummingbird among the weeds
is picking insects off sunlight.
It’s down in a hollow
next to the street, undisturbed
by the traffic’s hum. There’s just a trace of moisture
in the air, and gilded
wings that sparkle
in a patch of wasteland close
to the path where coyotes leave midnight droppings
on their way to the pond
to drink the moon’s reflection.
The saints have gathered up their white robes
and retreated to their caves;
now the only miracle
is the mountain
coming down to Earth
from its night among the planets
with a stony glow across
its slopes for the minutes it takes
to warm it into desert.


David Chorlton is a European who became a longtime resident of Phoenix and has developed an interest in the wildlife of the West. He has a recent book with watercolors and poems featuring the local birds, The Flying Desert. Read other articles by David.