By Andrew Lafleche

I Miss Hummingbirds in Winter

I am in bed
this evening
when
a sudden 
downpour
violent enough
to jar me
from that place—
between
the hours 
waiting for tomorrow
and 
the darkness
which will 
deliver me there;
the space 
where shapes escape
their borders
and the voices
behind my brow
escape my lips
whispered
delicate as the hand
rested on my shoulder,
thigh
by a woman
who is not here
anymore—does.
confused
I listen 
for some time
to the staccato
drumming of
sky water
colliding 
with the tin roof
awestruck,
before she leaves
and momentarily
I disbelieve
she was
ever 
truly here
with me 
alone in bed tonight.

The First Bottle of Cabernet After a Drought

the dog's ears 
erect ahead the roll
thunder 

uncork another bottle 
or wait (don't I mean) 

cigarette stick
butted with cigar
there are no stars
tonight.

he's never felt the rain
doesn't know how a drop
floods
in a moment
but he will (too late) 

Diana candle lighting
the path housebound
from kitchen
one foot next 

secure two bottles
(instead) as I foresaw
the intimacy my demons
share with 
I, married death do us.

forget to let it
breathe, take a breath
myself, blood
(one of ours)
consumed in, offering? 

there the pup is
a world still wondered
he'll make a nice pelt
wolf dog
wolf mountain pup
unmarred, groomed 

hold still
this won't hurt 
one bit.

A Woman Loved

for Paula

Who’ll be my role model

Now that my role model is gone, gone?

“The flowers are exploding in my house right now—
	They’re out of control,” she said.
“The amaryllis dining on the table near the nook—
	The nook too cold to sit in, but
		that’s besides the point.
	Three weeks ago, it was a dried stump, 
This beautiful red masterpiece, if I do say so myself.
	The orchids, too. Did you see the orchids?
Did you see all three chutes? Pure white. I did that.”

Starting the stopping here,
	and not the other way around,
A woman loved is always near, 
	even when she’s only gone.

Little sister, daughter, mother, wife, 
	threading life:
Seaming connections in your offering,
Stitching, wherever you could,
All these lives you strung together,
	if only you—if only.

Speaking appreciating beauty, Paula, 
	Why’d you have to leave? 
Who’ll be here in the fall this year
	Aglow beneath the fire in the trees?

Beautifully reckless, refreshingly forthright, 
So gently real, so gloriously bright;

Little blueberry 
and you
	forever now 
			bound together tight.

The Touchstone

resolve 
required
a man
to permit his(her) 
heart to break
knowing
one word
would quit the pain
holding fast
kills most 
in the moment
to arrive
13 years too late

Go Ahead

he said, try and lose
something not already

yours

fall to your knees
and writhe over ghosts

yours

trying to hold water
through leaky fingers

sand in an hourglass
wasting, yours

yours, yours, yours

the melancholic salve
the salve of melancholia

the tears release 
the pounds

and the hangover
doesn’t curse the sun’s rise

because everything 
is different

because everything 
is the same
		only
		lighter

and the year ahead
not yet 

yours
so hope.

Shaved Today

not all the way down
on account the
time it s been
blame the twenty-
eight degree sun
or her gone
day after
the storm-shower
baptism
doesn t matter
i m shaved
forget how long
i ve seen my face

Grace Upon Grace

To hear what you’ve said 
	I’d have to listen;
blind man feeling his way 
	toward you, am I.

Easy as “come and see,”
	claim knowing me
seeing me, under the tree
	naming me, anew.

I have lived a part so long
	now, I doubt your
truth. Yet here I am, again
	after time again—

Andrew Lafleche is the award-winning poet and author of No
Diplomacy, Ride, and Spring Summer, Winter, Fall. His work uses spoken
style language to blend social criticism, philosophical reflection,
explicit prose, and black comedy. Following his service as an infantry
soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces, Lafleche received an M.A. in
Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Gloucestershire. He
lives on a farmstead in the Bonnechere Valley. Please visit
www.AndrewLafleche.com or follow @AndrewLafleche on Twitter for more
information.

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