The kind you’re born with, the kind you choose, the kind that teach Catholic school
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Midsummer, and along came a hapless jay —
blue and wobbling — flight feathers nothing more
than pins of white. It arrived at the nest’s edge
unready, which was only half the problem.
Crows perched in the oak across the street, alert,
aware of all the world’s worst secrets. Naturally
I rooted for the jay. Oh, but this was life.
After the blue jay fell from the Scotch pine’s terrible height,
it righted itself in the grass and, like a skin-kneed child
after her first bad spill on a bike, cried out for help.
I set down my rake and shepherded the bird
toward my spindle tree. Hopping from
low branches, it pressed toward the center, tucking itself
into my tree’s sturdy heart. For two days
the parents swooped down to feed it.
Thankfully the crows never came, though
I kept my eye on them. I knew their game.
Pirates. Gangsters. Extortionists. Thieves.
But even if the world is half bad, it remains
half good. While some of us sleep, our hearts
lie open, turned to the tender, dreaming up ways
to thwart the crows. Yes, a hapless jay stumbles
into our lives believing it can fly, and we — knowing
what we know — do what we can to make it so.