"Love Poem" by Courtney Flerlage

Adrian Liang on February 28, 2017

PoetryPoetry has always been a song weaving through literature, sometimes dominating the arts and sometimes barely audible.

Signs now point to a poetry resurgence. We plan to post a poem every few weeks, and more often during April, which is National Poetry Month.

Tell us what you think.


Love Poem

 by Courtney Flerlage


Summer, I paint my nails red as poppies
         swirl a bowl of sugar water in my hands
and sit in the heat of my back porch, waiting

for hummingbirds to come. They swarm from the trees
for the sweetness, and I watch the males fight,
spangled, high-pitched and glittering

at one another. In the dream I call a nightmare
the air is full of them tangled brightly
in my hair, the blushed hum around my face—
I am crowned in their ruby throats.

And sometimes my mother tells the story:
an uncle who held a hummingbird, window-stunned, bare
in his hands, watched it wake and die of fright,

which is possible, the heart itself
not solid at all               but strutted as a bird’s bones,
all that space necessary to let what must pass through

pass through.  The birds aren’t careful
with each other, bodies crashing above me,
the whole wanting mammal that I am.

So when one pauses long enough
to land on my thumb, drinking softly
from the sticky bowl before he glints away, I am thankful

because his touch is gentle enough
to be felt, a happiness           brief enough
to be forgotten.


Courtney FlerlageCourtney Flerlage is an MFA candidate at the University of Virginia, where she currently serves as the poetry editor for Meridian. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, the Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies, Written River, the Alabama Literary Review, Ghost Ocean, and elsewhere.

"Love Poem" was originally published in the Day One literary magazine.

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