Dead Upon The Ground

An adolescent blue jay,
not yet dressed out in adult plumage,
is under the bird feeder by the back fence.
His parents sit upon branches above and call,
call out cries of alarm.
A lifetime of…adventures ahead,
soaring to the heights,
selecting a mate, mating,
building a nest, raising offspring,
splashing in the birdbath and
then drying, wings spread, under the summer sun,
feeding, flying, enjoying your life,
fulfilling your destiny…
all this is there beside you.
And what brought you here?
An illness, maybe mosquito-borne
West Nile Virus disease?
An accident due to youthful exuberance
mixed with carelessness, inexperience?
Ingestion of some toxic substance, showing
your disregard for your parents’ admonitions?
Falling victim to senseless racial violence,
maybe at the feeder -- wrong place, wrong time —
suffering a blow from that cocky, belligerent,
arrogant red-headed woodpecker?
But the why matters not…
Of significance now is only that you lie here
dead upon the ground.
Unbeknownst to you, your parents linger,
their cries turning to distress,
as their summer of nurturing and protection,
all their instinctive dreams for your future,
come to a tragic conclusion, resting there with you,
dead upon the ground.

Harry Edward Gilleland      09.22.02    printer friendly