blue jays

Alarm calls of jays give way to crows; the crows to a raven. With each corvid, the cry comes from higher in the blue—and closer to the bone.

The stream’s dark thread. A jay pierces it with his bill three times. The scarlet oak I planted so long ago is flying all its red flags.

The tulip tree in the yard has reached that stage where it could be sculpture, each remaining yellow leaf placed just so, jeered at by jays.

A jay walks the metal ridge of the springhouse roof, where a tangled mass of Virginia creeper has stretched red tentacles over the shingles.

A turkey vulture glides low over the trees, circles once to gain altitude, setting off a jay and a squirrel, and soars off down the ridge.

Cold and quiet, with a sky almost as blue as the jays in the treetops. One of them keeps making a rattling sound, as if clearing its throat.