Proof of Life – Bill Rector


Proof of life

Half-hidden 
In dewy milkweed
By the lake
Is a centerfold 
From an old
Playboy magazine.


A kid looks down from the road.
I’m a girl, she says.


The pods break,
And the seeds blow away


Before

hummingbirds, Sweetheart, 
there was plutonium. 
Before plutonium,
hummingbird 


tongues, as quarks 
are called in this poem, were all
the rage. Before quarks, 
and rage, and sorrow, there was tohu 


bohu, which is not, Thank Heavens,
sushi made from tofu and tears,
which probably does exist 
somewhere on this unhappy 


planet, but language from
Genesis, which I read as feathers 
of every color flying in all directions at
once from a prior destruction,  


which, at a touch, reassemble
as a hummingbird of every color 
hovering before a honeysuckle 
blossom in the garden of a God 


we do not, cannot, comprehend, 
hovering, hovering, hovering… 
for what seems less than an 
instant, and more than an eternity.

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