Play of Light

So many shades of bark on the ponderosa—
pale brown, dark brown, blue-gray, even charred black.
But I did not expect to see red, glistening,
on the ponderosa bark that had fallen onto the path.
As I stepped over lichen-carpeted sandstone,
hunched to avoid the cat’s claw locust,
I saw it propped there: a piece of ponderosa
shaped and painted like a hummingbird.
I wanted to hold it, cupped in my hands,
and yet as the light filtered through the trees,
something stopped me. To touch this
slender piece of bark, I would have to move it
from its nest of pine needles. In moving it,
the play of light would change—
the brilliant red-throated hummingbird,


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