and I sit in the August sun, on the back porch of the house he built
himself, watching ruby-throated hummingbirds hover like living jewels
near the plastic feeder. The glass of molasses-sweet tea he poured
weeps cold and wet in my hand.
humminbirds really do sing. Says they don't in bird books,"
he says. He wears hearing aids in both ears, and when the batteries
are low, they squeal. He can't hear even that, so the batteries
are often dead.
mornins they wake me out of a sound sleep," he says.
I know he hung
the feeder from the peach-tree branch over the back porch because
Grandma liked to watch the birds in the summer. She's been dead
six years and the plastic has faded to pink.
imagine how such a little bird makes such a loud noise," he
says. Sweat gleams on his forehead, the color of mulch. "The
check Sibley's Guide to Birds and learn, indeed, they're voiceless.
But now, I say, "I can hear it. It's beautiful."
He turns to
me. "What, son?" he says.
Tucker was raised in the Arkansas Ozarks, where he learned
how to dowse for water. He studied writing at Florida International
University. Currently, he teaches writing part-time and works at
an interactive ad agency where he spends inordinate amounts of time
exploring a newly-minted genre: Google haiku.