In the chilly breath of September
one lone hummingbird
lingers here in the north-
iridescent, ruby throat
and wings lit in the sun.
Perched at the feeder,
dipping its straw-like beak,
relishing long sips of sugar water
one after another.

Sugar beets,
grown by farmers of the Red River Valley
in the cusp of North Dakota and Minnesota,
processed into sugar
near the farms at a factory in Moorehead,
trucked to a distributor near the Twin Cities,
delivered to a store in northern Wisconsin,
plucked from the shelf by me,
driven twenty-two miles north,
boiled on my stove-
sugar water.

So many miles in the sugar already
with many more stretching ahead
as this filled, feathered friend
launches into the crisp, blue heavens
zipping towards Mexico
or propelled to Central America,
fueled by sweet roots of the earth.

—Diana Randolph, Drummond, WI