Jay at the Window by Gregory Loselle

Judge's Choice, 2019 Poetry Contest

All afternoon it’s batted at the glass, 
from branch to window, back to branch again 
and, pausing, cocks its head, picks off a sour
ash berry, gobbles it, resumes attack.

It sees itself, perhaps, and, striking out 
against that other bird unrecognized, 
it charges at the charging flash of blue 
that’s warned it of intrusion and the dread

of others’ eggs in its own nest.  Confused 
and purposeful, it labors at its task
into the gathering darkness, berry-soused,
until the glass no longer answers back

with its self-image—perfect agonist—
but glows against the evening from within.
It wastes the day contending with itself
as we look on and sort our own concerns,

or parse the threats its pounding on the glass
can conjure up: the knocking on the door,
the envelope unopened for the fear
of what’s inside—the hourly tally of

impediments we cast down in our way,
the list of things that daily trip us up—
and how we battle on like jays on berries:
drunk with one thing, hungry for another.

Gregory Loselles first full-length collection, The Very Rich Hours was published in 2019; his newest chapbook, In Ordinary Time, is forthcoming. He is a Hopwood Award winner who earned his MFA at The University of Michigan. 

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