I take flight at dusk, pink and indigo sky stretching each way into infinity.  Blue wind over my skin I think of how the world came to be.  In a dream last night I was a hummingbird in migration. A sudden storm and I was in descent, torn from the sky.


I woke up distraught and gasping for air. Sleepy-eyed I wandered the house until I found an encyclopedia, 22 million years ago the hummingbird  diverged from the insectivore swift.  Just like that they stopped eating insects and started drinking nectar.

Delicately sipping on nectar, swallowing the sky.


I imagine how it must have happened, mother feeding on tough-shelled insects, spitting out chitin. Nestled beside her is the child in grey-feathered grandeur. Delicately sipping on nectar, swallowing the sky.


I haven’t been sleeping well lately so I take baths at dawn, swimming in grey mornings and dense shadows, Venus fading from the sky.  I swear I do not feel the hot water burning its way up my back, pulling at my flesh. I swear I do not feel your fingers plucking blue-tipped feathers off my back.


N.L. Shompole was born in Kenya and currently lives, works and writes in the San Francisco Bay Area California. Her previous works have been featured in Maps for Teeth, Kinfolks Quarterly, Invitation Annual and most recently Words Dance Publishing. She has authored four poetry collections including one chapbook Cassiopeia at Midnight and Anatomy of Surrender, a compilation of poems from a yearlong poetry project completed in December 2014. Her latest collection Spectre Specter Blue Ravine was released November 2015 to spectacular reviews. She can be reached at

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.