The Old Drama

Howard_Finster-Seven_Devils (1)
The Old Drama

On Fridays in June, the contentious jay
fetches twigs to Hell

for Diabolus to stoke his wasting fires.
Chatty, curious, bellicose—

a corvid after all—no one knows
how the blue jay

got his job. But that black collar,
like a noose, and

those ebony eyes and beak that can poke
a hole straight through your soul—

no wonder the old dragon took note
on his long walks

through Eden’s shade and found jays
nesting in the haywire,

heart-shaped green of a mulberry stand—
morus rubra, named

for blood and the locked-up
languish of decay.

But leave it to Lucifer to cut both
ways. While the crested

jay bundles and flies, the Trickster
sends his legless friend—

a milky, blotched ratsnake—to climb
the mulberry’s twisted

bark, search for eggs or fledglings, and
squeeze with fervid ache.


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