Mama Loves the Hummingbirds

Designed by Erin Choi.

Image description: Large red circle superimposed with images of a hummingbird in flight reaching for two hanging flowers and two long curves framing the figures. The image has been created on a light brown parchment-like background.

Mama when you wait for the hummingbirds

I feel happy 

that you’ve taken a moment for yourself


We’ve seen enough and heard much worse

The words have scraped the walls — left slices in the paint

even when we tread softly on floors

they creak through the hardwood


But your motherhood 

resembles the birds you love …

thrumming with life-giving energy

offering the solace of silence 


It is a love of warm hands cupped over my ears

of cradling my child’s form 

until you could only cradle my head 

of idli sambar when I return home from college

of calling mithoo come here! 

when the hummingbird finally comes



You have upheld the cosmic legacy of womanhood

paving for me, in memories of how nani paved for you

and I think about you and me and how the chain goes on 

How I am of you 

and you are of her 

and she is of —


We are all borne of each other 

from the pulsating womb

that is mother’s land —

That liminal space that knowing death ached for life


I have been nurtured since I belonged to timelessness

Cradled by wings of (wom)ancestors 

in warmth — in hope

When they deemed me ready

they pressed against me with gentle fingertips 

and pushed 


Memory of their touch seeped into my skin

and memory of their love was an outpour

Sweet nectar of life kissed bare tile 


Where I am from leads to a path paved 

by Women 

who stamped their feet into the sand and pulled forward

bearing the coarse particles that came between sandals 

and clutched the legs of their pants

so I would have a trail to follow


Nani told me — Mama told me … 

it is best when we walk with heavy steps

the earth remembers where we have been

and shows it to daughters who come




I remember the hummingbird arrive 

and the joy in your gaze as it

flit past your eyes

perched on my shoulder

and sank into my skin —  

Etched in me 

so it could always be close to you

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