Truthfully and begrudgingly, this season, the existential swamp that is 2020, has brought about more questions than I care to count. Who of us hasn’t looked into the mirror and asked: am I doing any of this right? What will be my life’s greatest work? Am I doing it right now? (Just me?)
Here is my rebel yell: Blue Jay. I hope you will yell with me.
This poem was born out of memory, existential inquisition, longing; each line a moment weaved into a nest of natural nostalgia, exposing the way I have carried the image of a disappearing blue jay, my disappearing blue jay, for 3 years—this, admittedly, is the way I carry most things. It is also their long-awaited, imperfect release. Each line is saying, more or less, “I am here and then I am not,” to which I respond: I hate you but I release you. Here, the mirror I look into becomes the earth, and the question I ask, a rebel yell into its belly: a plea for greatness through forgiveness. Here is my rebel yell: Blue Jay. I hope you will yell with me.
What will be the great work of my life?
Will it be standing in the eye of the storm with open palms and cracked chest;
Will it be perfecting warrior pose;
Folding whispers into secret-bearing walls?
Will it be planting feet firmly into the soft earth
Will it be uprooting and trailing a blue jay—flexed calves and suppressed breath—
under the dome of a low-hanging magnolia?
Will it be a handful of crushed cedar pines placed in pocket for safe-keeping—
Will it be forgiving you?