for Erik Lemke (1979-2012)


1.

A hummingbird flies into a window 
that looks like the sky. Everything around here

looks like the sky. The sky looks tiger striped.
They call that kind of cloud 

something. I know somebody 
who knows about clouds. I could find 

out the name. Everything around here 
has a name. 




2.

The hummingbird fell to the deck. My husband picked it up.

—What did it feel like in your hand? 
—Nothing. It felt like nothing. 
—Where is it now? 
—Gone.
—Dead? 
—Not dead. It flew away. It disappeared and it disappeared again. 




3.

I’ll tell you a joke. A hummingbird flew into a window…

I’ll tell you another joke. Treachery, 
we were friends once. 




4.

In dreams the bird 
weighs more, so you can feel it

when you pick it up. So when 
it dies it seems 

like something actually happened. 
It’s a word 

bound 
around your hand and a sign 

at the stripped road. 
A mylar star on a plastic stick

tied to the sign. 
Blacktop. Post. A fat star’s

wrinkles 
taut. It’s stuffed. 

It’s shining.
There’s going 

to be a party around here somewhere.
The bird weighs nothing waits nowhere.

The sky looks like a window and it flies right through.

 

More by Melissa Ginsburg

Oversight

Our subjects were nice. We kept

our distance. We brewed detachment
in bottles. “We kept our distance”

is an anecdote. Her name

is Anecdote. She was born in the study.
Cages, bottles. Books all around.

She was our favorite / forbid us

to see her. She was the muse
for the bottles marked “Distance”

from which we drank. Could not

get by without. We buried the results;
they were dead. It was painless

for us. Thanks

to detachment. Our hypothesis held up
a snapshot. Braces, barrettes.