Yesterday’s Blue Jay

By: Alexander Schell

In the bitter Northeast winters

which made boys into men,

a blue jay often floated above

The buried tulip bulbs in Jenny’s garden.

His whispered song

Withered with the fig tree’s branches,

And by February’s chilled winds

he spoke no more.

I sat with him in solidarity

one afternoon, both of us

searching for a lost sensation, or

a sunny day to break up the season’s snow.

I told him stories to pass the time

until supper. I asked just one silly question:

“How long does a blue jay live?”

“no more than a day.”

And each day, a new jay came

to watch me play games and grow

out of them. One sliver, one chapter,

knowing that he would never read the rest.

The years flew by. On my last day

in the garden, a new bird greeted me,

puffing his chest for breath but

smiling down proudly.

This one’s feathers were whitening.

Like the first, he whispered a song.

I wonder what the words meant.

“Even a day goes by eventually.”

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