Enemies of Innocence

I held a dying thing once before;

I cradled a panting hummingbird

From the garden above my youth

Where our family cats would prowl

And bring us gifts in benediction.

I flitted before my altar,

Praying to save her life;

Even forced a flower

On her outstretched tongue,

Naively unaware

That I choked her final song.

As rapid as her wings once flapped,

Her heart betrayed her panic—

Then the wind's sister stilled—

As in my hand, her eyes went damp.

Stagnant beauty

Stared blankly back at me.

Such Innocence, eclipsed by death.

Her humming wings

Sang in my dreams that night,

That her life was turned in,

By a cat, and his human,

For eternity, returned.

I can still hear her singing to me—

Flap, flap, flapping wings.

Hear this poem performed on Soundcloud by searching Somnambulist