Will Brewer

Looking positively neon in the sun out here

these hummingbirds are basically my friends

We hang out so much me on the step’s hot stucco

their jewel-bodies motionless while their needles

zip bloom to bloom the music of their wings

what did I compare it to before my mind

had amateur drones as a correlative

Was it the song of spring the hum of paradise

the note that summoned my grandma calling me

up onto the countertop to watch them at the feeder

to see one then was an event you must be quiet

you must be still there was something sinless

in her presence she watched things die

like I check my phone when I stay out

too long in the Oakland sun I close my eyes

and behind them it’s not dark at all

my head a red orb filled with illusions

How did this poem begin for you?

In a way, this poem is a record of its own composition. One day after meditating I stepped outside of my old Oakland apartment and sat on the steps to feel the sun. When I looked up, I saw these hummingbirds that were always hanging around our giant grapefruit tree, and right then the poem shot through my head, almost fully formed. I wasn’t thinking it, I simply heard it. It was a true gift, especially because I hadn’t written a poem in three years.

Will Brewer is the author of a novel, The Red Arrow, and I Know Your Kind, a winner of the National Poetry Series. A new book of poems, Nocturama, will be published in 2025.
Originally published:
June 26, 2024


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