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  • Sincerely, the Blue Jay, and: Anyone Who Is Still Trying
  • David Hernandez (bio)

Sincerely, the Blue Jay

When you were a boy.When you had a box

propped up on a stick, a long,long string tethered to it.On the grass twenty yardsout, in the shadow

below the box, some breadyour little fingers

broke. One hour into the nextyou waited, testingthe string. Inside your home,lightning before a door

thundered closed. Then Ispoke, scissoring down

from June’s tulip blue.I am telling you thisas if you have forgottenhow I dashed past the box,

unfooled, and stoodcoolly in the shade

beneath the orange tree.Recall the breeze. Recallthe window and its reflection,puzzle of clouds [End Page 414]

over your mother’s face,the string shivering before

wind kicked over your box.Below the plump globes of fruit,I startled, openedcobalt wings, flew. [End Page 415]

Anyone Who Is Still Trying

Any person, any human, any someone who breaks    up the fight, who spackles holes or FedExesice shelves to the Arctic to keep the polar bears    afloat, who talks the wind-rippled womandown from the bridge. Any individual, any citizen    who skims muck from the coughing ocean,who pickets across the street from antigay picketers    with a sign that reads, god hates maggots,or, god hates restaurants with zagat ratings    less than 27. Any civilian who kissesa forehead heated by fever or despair, who reads    the X ray, pins the severed bone. Any bipedwho volunteers at soup kitchens, who chokes    a Washington lobbyist with his own silk necktie—I take that back, who gives him mouth-to-mouth    until his startled heart resumes its kabooms.Sorry, I get cynical sometimes, there is so much    broken in the system, the districts, the crookedthinking, I’m working on whittling away at this    pessimism, harvesting light where I can find it.Any countryman or countrywoman who is still    trying, who still pushes against entropy,who stanches or donates blood, who douses fires    real or metaphorical, who rakes the earthwhere tires once zeroed the ground, plants something    green, say spinach or kale, say a modest forestfor restless breezes to play with. Any anyone    from anywhere who considers and repairs,who builds a prosthetic beak for an eagle—    I saw the video, the majestic bird disfigured [End Page 416] by a bullet, the visionary with a 3-D printer,    with polymer and fidelity, with hoursand hours and hours, I keep thinking about it,    thinking we need more of that commitment,those thoughtful gestures, the flight afterward. [End Page 417]

David Hernandez

david hernandez’s latest collection, Hoodwinked, won the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry.



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pp. 414-417
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