Saturday, December 23, 2006


A hummingbird followed a scent
or a stray thought into our house.
A brave bird, a traveler, thinking fast
or acting on impulse,

known to others
as the ibn Battuta of his kind.
He came to a good place
for I would never harm an intrepid soul.

I turned out the lights and opened the doors wide
but the tiny bird went to sleep in our attic,
where the moon shines,
his fast-beating heart trusting in Allah

or following its own imperatives.
In the morning I caught him in my hand
and tossed him into the blue Panamanian sky.
He disappeared so fast

that I think maybe the real bird escaped last night
and left only his shadow here,
his dim double, his dream,
and that's what I set free.

Have I too have left my shadow asleep
in some strange prison or lamplit street?
And when will it fly free
to join me?

Or am I instead
the shadow, the dim double, the dream, the ghost,
Lost and asleep in the moonlight?

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