The Back Yard

by Peter Balakian

Peter Balakian

Out of blueness,
the hummingbird in the privet.
Then silence
shafts the sky.

In it you can hear
a cat yawning,
missiles moving to Griffiss,
a scarf of chartreuse
drying like a caterpillar.

The seeds in the heart
are like plovers lost inland.
Don't try flying with them.
Just feel the lift,
and the horizon
is the color of raspberries
fermenting in the shed.

But then the hummingbird's gone
and the air is a flask
for the henna-tulips ...

coils of amber
powder down the shaft
as if they've spilled from a white rose
breaking up in the wind.

Then ...

neither a twig
nor the obelisk of a birch
can measure a distance.

Last updated February 19, 2023