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When I left the southern coast, I bid farewell to hummingbirds,
never thought I’d see a calliope, rufous, or ruby-throated again—
yet in the northwoods summer, as the world slowly opens up,
a figure needles the dusk with her little mouth in the late light,  
humming in the pines like a helicopter rescue gladly fueled
by the nectar of a red cosmos: those whom you love will follow  
wherever you go, one way or other. God calls beloveds by name,
soft as rain bleeding on a lake. Don’t fret about the way north   
or wonder where to go when the bay freezes over. This inlet
where the water, the trees, and the land meet will remember
the bird flying under a flushed moon, ruddy from wildfires
ravaging the other side of this land: now climate migrants
seek refuge by the great lakes, old footprints of glaciers—
and hummingbirds will greet us after the husky winters.

Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash

Karen An-Hwei Lee

Karen An-hwei Lee is the author of Rose is a Verb: Neo-Georgics (Slant 2021), Phyla of Joy (Tupelo 2012), Ardor (Tupelo 2008) and In Medias Res (Sarabande 2004)winner of the Norma Farber First Book Award. She authored two novels, Sonata in K (Ellipsis 2017) and The Maze of Transparencies (Ellipsis 2019). Lee’s translations of Li Qingzhao’s writing, Doubled Radiance: Poetry & Prose of Li Qingzhao, is the first volume in English to collect Li’s work in both genres (Singing Bone 2018).  Her book of literary criticism, Anglophone Literatures in the Asian Diaspora: Literary Transnationalism and Translingual Migrations (Cambria 2013), was selected for the Cambria Sinophone World Series. Currently, she serves as the Provost at Wheaton College.

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