Sunday Poem


Driving the perfect fuel, their thermonuclear wings,
into the hot layer of the sugar’s chromosphere,
hummingbirds in Egypt
might have visited the tombs of the Pharaohs
when they were fresh in their oils and perfumes.
The pyramids fitted,
stone slab against slab,
with little breathers, narrow slits of light,
where a few esters, a sweet resinous wind,
might have risen soft as a parachute.
Robbers breached the false doors,
the trick halls often booby traps,
embalming them in the powder of crushed rock.
These, too, they might have visited.
The miniature dagger hangs in the air,
entering the wild furnace of the flower’s heart.

by Ruth Stone
from Ordinary Words
Paris Press, 1999