Flower Wars

It started with a bang
(some say a snap).
Then a watery isthmus,
a primordial goo
lipping along
under a purple steam
Then pods shaped
like violins, then fish
wishing themselves
bigger fins, feet.
Then pterodactyl,
then mammoth.
Then ice and more ice,
the long walk, the centuries
in the wilderness,
the zigzag wander.
Then a valley.
Then a lake.
Then the herd, the golden
grain, a maze
of aqueducts singing
their blue song.
Then a city bigger than Rome,
pyramids, a god
some people called
a hummingbird.

A hummingbird
cannot be a man
but man can learn
to love a hummingbird,
to go to war
for a hummingbird.
This bird was at war
with the world
and it ate its enemies
behind a curtain of roses,
and the grasshoppers
never said a word.

Song by Joseph Byrd
Words by Nico Amador

Joseph Byrd’s work has appeared in earthsongs, Quibble, Fatal Flaw, Cathexis NW Press, South Florida Poetry Journal, The Plentitudes, DIAGRAM, Aji, Long River Review, The Ravens Perch, and has forthcoming work in Resurrection and WAXING & WANING. He was in the 2021 StoryBoard Chicago cohort with Kaveh Akbar, was an Associate Artist in Poetry under Joy Harjo at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and is on the Reading Board for The Plentitudes.