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The art of hovering

Donna Steiner
Med J Aust 2014; 201 (11): 670. || doi: 10.5694/mja14.01330
Published online: 15 December 2014

No small feat, fifty wing beats per
second, sixty, the tongue searching
for sweetness, seventy. Territory matters,

beauty matters. In the right light, at the right
angle, the throat shines. Recovery feels dependent
on their brilliance, bones in mid-ear vibrate to their

frequency. Learn the meaning, the magnitude
of small and nothing and easy and little.
The procedure is nothing, they said; the scars

are small, there will be little pain. Try to swallow.

A hummingbird's heart is smaller than a pearl, larger
than a grain of rice; it's nothing, just a little larger
than nothing. Three hundred heartbeats per minute,

check your pulse, five hundred, rub circles over scars,
nine hundred, a thousand, try rising from the bed.
Admire their acceleration, manoeuvres through acres

of cherry and locust, predator and gust. Soon every move
will cease to cause a flinch; you will adjust your vocabulary
no big deal will refer to the surgery and smile.

But months later, long past summer, you hear echoes of the birds
in midair and your heart beats faster

(although
like hovering
you appear
still)

  • Donna Steiner

  • Oswego, NY, USA.

Correspondence: donna.steiner@oswego.edu

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