"Scrub Jays"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Aug. 9 2011 10:13 AM

"Scrub Jays"

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Ishmael Reed read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.

Free as a bird

You wish


And cross old man

Glaring from the

Kitchen window

As I stab my beak into

The choice apples at

The top of your tree

You can ball your fists

All you want

You can grit your

Plastic teeth

But there's nothing that

You can do about it

What good are apples

To old men, anyway

You have lost your bite

You have run out of

Ladders to climb

Your ultrasonic solar-powered

Animal repellent

The Honda among dissuaders

Might rid your garden of

The capo cats, but

The bandit raccoons

Figured out that one

Within 48 hours

Getting rid of one pest

Only invites others

You're in your 70s

And haven't learned that

Now that the coast

Is clear, our entire

Family can fly in

I know

We are warble-less

We are born thieves

We'll steal an acorn

From a woodpecker

We've beat you out

Of your harvest

We, who are not the decorous

Fluorescent song bird of your



Ishmael Reed's latest novel, Juice!, was published in April.


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