Trial of Three

Maggie Hess


The same morning I found a dead little song bird
out walking my dog in the neighborhood
and the moon high in the western sky was oh so full
when on the next street over
I saw something falling slower than anything I ever had seen
and wondered first if it was a leaf
but then soon saw
it was a powerful feather
coming down near my head
from the wing of a dove.

I say it was a powerful feather
because for a moment the whole world stood still,
the dog in the nearby house quit barking for four minutes
and the passing car stilled
and the flowing fall breeze stopped blowing
and the train that was whistling, rested gently.
It took four minutes for that feather to land
and the only thing alive on this earth other than the plume was me
diving towards it,
hoping like a child to catch it.
But it pinned into the yard near about four steps
which I climbed mumbling to myself “that’s my feather”
so whomever might be peering from a window would know what’s up.

And when I held the feather,
it reminded me there are some things we hold onto in life
and other things that we let go of.
Yet, when I got home,
I also was remembering a story a professor once told me
that he once resuscitated a hummingbird
that seemed quite dead,
but was only shocked,
just by cupping it in his warm hands for a while.
So I picked up the song bird I had found
but I saw it was quite dead, missing its eye on the other side.

So that was my second reminder that some things
when they go
are gone forever.
And I just need to let things go.
And maybe I will.





Inspired by her transformational battle with schizoaffective disorder, Maggie Hess’s poetry has been widely read. Maggie won the Leidig Poetry Award judged by Linda Pastan and the May B Smith writing award.