A Heavy Feather


Jack McCall, Writer

We all have that one friend.

The one friend that seems so carefree.

So lighthearted.


Sometimes that feather of a heart.

Is nothing but a rock in disguise.


Oh so many years ago,

We were sitting around the fire.

Flames danced and leaped

And sang their crackly song.

The stars twinkled above 

Wolves howled in the distance 

And the swish of the river

Washed away everything but serenity.


Soon, everybody dozed off.

Well, almost everybody.

I laid in my sleeping bag, wide awake

For what could have been a few minutes

Or an eternity. 


Little did I know,

Somebody else was awake. 

Sometime in the night, 

I noticed a sound clashing with the 

Soothing lullaby of the water.

It was a scritch-scratch. 


And as I looked to the noise, 

I noticed the warmth of a little light.

Unconsciously, my body moved

On its own,

Towards the light.


And then I saw her. 

My friend,

The lighthearted friend. 

The one

Who was never hurt by anything,

Sitting at the riverbed.


And there she was,

Writing in a little notebook

With droplets of tears blotting the ink

Of her pen.


“Whatcha doing?”

I asked against my better judgement.


She almost fell into the riverbed,

She was so startled.



She looked at the ground nervously.


“What are you writing?”


“I don’t really know. It’s terrible, really.”


“Well, can I hear it?”



She said.

“Didn’t you hear me? It’s awful.”


“Well, I still want to hear it.”

I said.


She finally gave in.

“Well, okay.” 

She said it in a sad voice.


And so she started reading it out.

By the looks of it,

She had filled the whole notebook.

And I listened to her poetry,

I realized something.

Her heart was not light at all.

And as I looked into her blue eyes,

I saw who she really was.


I saw a slash of a belt,

Reeking of alcohol.

I saw the pills 

And her crying mother, 

Driving away

From any part 

Of her life.


I saw every tear she had shed.

All the jokes she had laughed at,

Even though they killed a little part of her every time.

 I saw all the makeup she wore

To hide her emotions

From even herself.

I saw a rope

Tied around the ceiling fan

And a little letter on the kitchen table.

And I saw the scars on her arms,

And her calloused hands.


And after seeing her for who she really was, 

I looked at her, still reading her writing,

And hugged her.

And she cried,

And I cried.


And after all the tears were dried out,

And the sun was peeking over the horizon,

I whispered


“I write too.”