Flocking by Ellen S. Jaffe

POEM NAME: Flocking AUTHOR NAME: Ellen S. Jaffe POEM: ....A confession of birds flew overhead.... 	Ian Burgham, “A Confession of Birds” (The Grammar of Distance)  That Friday, four days before my mother died, (cold and  rainy for August) birds flocked  to the feeder outside her window while she subsided deeper into her body, not seeing flickers, cardinals, blue jays, mourning doves, goldfinches, nuthatches, finally  –  just at dusk – an emerald humming-bird, then another. Even the nurse’s aide – pregnant, wanting to get home to her toddler and pizza for dinner  –    		even she noticed : “Another hummer.”    An instant, then gone, a green thought.  Were they there to see her off, messengers from another world, fluttering to take her .... ?  “Home” is the word that comes to  mind, though she didn’t believe in an afterlife.  She would have welcomed these guests  shimmering beyond  her reach, the beating of hummingbirds’ hearts,    their insatiable hunger,  		constant movement, their capacity for  joy. END OF POEM. CREDITS:  Copyright © Ellen S. Jaffe Previously published in Skinny-Dipping With the Muse (Guernica Editions, 2014). Ellen S. Jaffe grew up in New York City and moved to Canada in 1979, becoming a Canadian citizen in 1993. Her poetry books include Water Children, Skinny-Dipping With the Muse, and The Day I Saw Willie Mays and Other Poems, and a Finnish-English chapbook, Syntymalauluja/Birthsongs,  published in Helsinki, Finland. She has also written a y/a novel, Feast of Lights, and a book on the craft of writing, and published widely in anthologies and journals, including Crossing Lines: Poets who came to Canada in the Vietnam War Era and Tamaracks: Canadian Poets for the 21st Century. She has received grants for writing and arts-education from the Ontario Arts Council, as well as other literary awards, and has taught in schools and community organizations. She lived in Hamilton for many years and now lives in Toronto.