Ballet over the Border


Every summer they come, a ballet
over the border, without papers,
a mass migration of

ruby-throat hummers,
beautiful birds that devour
millions of flies in North America,

birds we welcome because we love
their beauty and their ballet.
We do everything to help them,

hanging and cleaning feeders of nectar
to plump them up so they can feast
on flies until October when

they have to lead the young
over the border in another ballet
to Mexico or the Caribbean.

All winter we shovel snow
and wait for the hummers to
begin their long flight back

to arrive in time for summer.
They arrive again without papers.
There are no plans to deport them.

By Donal Mahoney
Hummingbird at yellow flower


Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in St. Louis, MO. He has worked as an editor for The Chicago Sun-Times, Loyola University Press and Washington University in St. Louis. Read more of his poems in Eye on Life Magazine here.

To learn more about Ruby-throated Hummingbird migration visit the Cornell University website site HERE.

Photo by Steve Byland

Leave a Reply