July 1, 2016

By the Light Of the Kumquat Tree, By Melissa Yuan-Innes


She lights upon the kumquat tree,
The deep green leaves glossy with promise;
The fruit dangle like fragrant orange pendants.

A hummingbird darts toward her
And his wings momentarily hum louder
Than the helicopter rumbling in the distance.

She can breathe here,
Six feet up from concrete,
Sheltered from the maddening glint of steel.

On the longest day of the year,
When her powers are strongest,
Perhaps she should fly further, to the ocean—

Befriend the seagulls
Baptize herself in the salty spray
Let her lungs and wings expand over the endless waves.

For now, she tiptoes
Into the twig cradle of an abandoned bird’s nest
And sleeps with a stray feather wisping her cheek.

Melissa says: "I've sold my award-winning stories to Nature, Writers of the Future, Tesseracts 7 & 16, and the Aurora-winning anthology called The Dragon and the Stars. Three of my stories earned honorable mentions in Gardner Dozois's year's best science fiction collections."

Altered image by John Anster Fitzgerald.

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