The Poet Community

Ruby Throat Madness | A Poem by Donal Mahoney

He paints hummingbirds not
for people to praise them,

ogle and grovel and buy them.
He paints them because

the birds come fluttering
one after another

and won’t go away unless
he paints them, every hue.

They line up like planes
at a busy airport, hovering,

waiting their turn to be put
on canvas, made immortal,

one bird at a time,
framed and hung on a wall.

After hanging each painting
he cleans his brushes and whistles

and waits for the next one to come
and hover in front of his eyes.

He prays the last one will perch
on his brush and stay.


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