Hummingbird, First Thing, Birthday Morning and Spring Thaw

by Gillian Nevers


Hummingbird, First Thing, Birthday Morning

Before coffee.  Backlit by the mid-risen sun

blazing white over the gray sea, whirr


of beating wings hidden by surf pounding,

you appear,


Oh, little messenger

of the day to come.


Before the sun arcs high

in the late March sky, sending


splashes of light like shards of glass glinting

over the water, before the sea turns


three shades of  turquoise,  before

fishermen seine bait in the shallows, before


umbrellas scatter stripes of green and yellow and orange

across the sand and snorkel boats gather


at the reef, and before you drop

to suckle the pink bougainvillea,


my heart slows, knowing the nectar

this day will bring.


Spring Thaw


The cottonwood I lived in as a child was

filled with nests of sleeping snakes,

tangled together until spring thaw

when they’d unwind, separate themselves

from the puzzle of each other and slither

out from the hole in the trunk, glide

into fields and gardens and, if there was

a sudden cold spell, damp cellars, where they’d

coil around the base of hot water heaters

or under wash tubs, so, when the woman of the house

came down the stairs to throw a load of laundry

into the wringer washer, a wicker basket resting

against her left hip, she’d carry a large broom

in her right hand.  Not, because she was

afraid of snakes. They had a purpose, mind you.

Still, she didn’t like being surprised by them,

and always kept one ear open.



Gillian Nevers’ poems have appeared in Silk Road, Miller’s Pond, Wisconsin People and Ideas, Pearl, Pirenes Fountain, Verse Wisconsin, Oak Bend Review, Right Hand Pointing, Architrave Press, and several other print and online literary magazines.  She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2011 and won second prize in the 2008 Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters statewide poetry contest.   Gillian lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband, Dan, and dog, San Rocco.  She spends two to three weeks in the Yucatan every March, and has done so for over twenty years.  She can usually be found in the quiet beachside community of Puerto Morelos, but, every so often will take a side trip to Valladolid and Merida.

Art by Judith Shaw