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 transplanted European, who has lived in Phoenix since 1978. His poems have appeared in many publications online and in print, and often reflect his affection for the natural world, as well as occasional bewilderment at aspects of human behavior. The Bitter Oleander Press published Shatter the Bell in my Ear, his translations of poems by Austrian poet Christine Lavant. A new book, Unmapped Worlds, featuring older poems that had suffered neglect, is out from FutureCycle Press. He recently took up watercoloring again, after twenty dry years. Read other articles by David.