Published on Academy of American Poets (

for michael

one day when you were three,
in the time of living in the mountains
in the time of waterfalls and rainbows
hummingbird was lost—
he was trapped inside a window.
fallen to the corner of the sill
his body heaving

i scooped him up with my mommy hands—
the hands you gave me to hold you when you cry
and you gently caressed his feathers
shimmering iridescent in the late afternoon light
outside, under a trembling aspen
i raised my arms, opened my hands

and hummingbird flew toward the sun

i want to tell you this story
so you know that the tiniest moments

hold the clearest blessings
i want you to know

i have learned to let go


From Work Is Love Made Visible, (West End Press, 2009). Copyright © 2009 by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish Jean. Published with the permission of the author. 


Jeanetta Calhoun Mish

Jeanetta Calhoun Mish was born in Hobart, Oklahoma. She received a BA and an MFA in English from the University of Texas - Permian Basin and a PhD in English from the University of Oklahoma. Mish is the author of What I Learned at the War (Lamar University Press, 2015) and Work Is Love Made Visible: Collected Family Photographs and Poetry (West End Press/University of New Mexico Press, 2009), winner of the 2010 Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry. In 2019, she was named an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. Mish currently serves as the poet laureate of Oklahoma.

Date Published: 2019-08-20

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