poetry break for two drops of ink

Poetry Break: Claudia Ricci


Of hummingbirds and lions


Two hummingbirds come to the weathered rail of the grey porch,

poke in and out of the red boxed flowers, back away.  They hover beside my ear,

wings beating the air, bringing the only hope of a breeze.


Beyond the sharp beaks, pointing, lie blonde hills topped by smoky blue haze.  The tawny mountains drop, disappear imperceptibly into the ocean.


How gentle they appear.  How many years I used to gaze at these hills, imagining that they were calling me to stroke them.  All I had to do was get close enough to feel their soft receiving coat, as flat and slick as the haunch of the neighbor’s old golden retriever.


Now I know better.  Now I tramp the hills and I know the retriever is really a snarling mountain lion, hot and angry.  Get too close and his sharp yellow grasses, like fangs, will whip the wheels of the pickup.  Thistle clings everywhere to this brute, as do prickers and the needled edges of  live oak.  All of it can draw blood instantly from bare skin. 


Too bad I got so close.

Better to have kept at a safe distance.

Better to have stayed at the porch railing, watching. 

Better to have let the hummingbirds beat the song of the hills,

while I gazed






Bio: Claudia Ricci, Ph.D.


Claudia Ricci, Ph.D., was a staff writer foThe Wall Street Journal and a prize-winning reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, where one of her projects was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. 
Her firsnovel, Dreaming Maples, was published in 2002 after it was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her second novel, Seeing Red, appeared in January 2011, and her third novel, Sister Mysteries, was published in July 2018.
Her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines nationwide. Riccspent 15 years teaching English and journalism at the University at Albany and was a visiting professor for one year at Georgetown University.
To order her novels, visit her website at www.http://claudiajricci.com.
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