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MAYA CATHERINE POPA

 

 

 

maya catherine popaMaya Catherine Popa graduated Summa Cum Laude from Barnard College, Columbia University, in 2011. She received an MSt from Oxford University under a Clarendon Scholarship and an MFA from NYU, where she co-taught a workshop for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Her work appears in The Kenyon Review, Fence, Narrative, FIELD, Colorado Review, Poetry London, PN Review, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is an Editorial Fellow at Poets & Writers Magazine in New York City.


 

 

 

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Hummingbird

The Bees Have Been Cancelled

 

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1st Prize in the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition

 

Maya Popa

Gif © Alexandre Fage
http://alexfage.tumblr.com/

Hummingbird

 

 

                              

Knocking against my Southwest window,

I mount a feeder, inviting her vandalism.

And though a guest with too delicate a coat,

she never drops a feather, an unfulfilled parable,

while inside our losses gracelessly accrue

without logic or pattern, and we wonder at that:

what prepares a bird for so much failure

when all her body’s work amounts to maintenance,

no spare change from a day's sugar water,

no breakthrough in song, no new nest.

My uncle dies on Christmas; my father

apologizes for crimes that went unnoticed

through fifty years of knowing. I've never

had a sibling, can't conceive of the collation,

but there are lessons I want to teach him

about birds, how they dare keep everything

precious in one place; the elastic safety

of the hummingbird's three eyelids

designed to protect her during flight.

She can close her lids and this spare space,

shut more light than a human eye, draw it

from a wound to guide the silence after.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shortlisted in the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition

 

The Bees Have Been Cancelled

 

 

 

 

Never again the humming, saddled flowers. Never the blind oath by a velveteen prisoner. Never the yellow, hula hooped in black, little engine left running late into the darkness. Oh, how they were charming, clever monographs. Sunlight couldn’t save them from the angel of extinction. Virgil said they swell with nectar’s tilted knowledge. I don’t know what to believe. Maybe they tired of being addicts. Clover honey, garbage honey, accidental ice cream honey. Ransomed stamen, sweetsinful will-do-anything-for honey. Maybe they caught fevers at midnight with no one there to hold their stingers, no fat queen to press a cold compress. How will we currency honey from wildflowers, that liquid of languages? How pollinate in the bees’ electrostatic absence? How will the bellbirds take it, the Canterbury birds? Who will cast the last skeleton in amber? I’ll miss the noise, the palimpsestic clamor, soft shock of discovering a hive under your roof. The lull as each integer walked its body over a blossom, then flew away with its instructions.

 

 

 

 

©2014 Maya Catherine Popa

 

 

 

Author Links

 

Maya Catherine Popa homepage

'Sinaia, Romania': poem by Popa in The Kenyon Review

Poetry review by Popa in The Kenyon Review

 

 

 

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