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Poetry Third Place


by Patricia L. Goodman

A hummingbird flies through a sliver
of sun and for that brief second
his ruby throat flashes
like a neon strobe. Then
he alights on my shaded feeder –
brilliant color faded to dull,

much the way waves eradicate
the footprints of my daughter
as she walks the beach
ahead of me. As each wave recedes
it’s as if she was never there.

I think of my son, recently
erased by cancer, my toy poodle
buried in the woods –
faded to nothingness like
my daughter’s sunburn, like
the empty hummingbird nest

that shattered to the ground today
beneath my aged black pine.

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