The Orange Room Review

Accessible poetry of substance

A Jay, for Quarrelsome Lines

by Rae Spencer

Blue-barred beauty
Loud and brash
They nested over the clothesline
Pulled hair while I worked

While I hurried, yanking hard
So wooden-spring pins
Splattered from sheets
Soaked in a stormy wind

Mother scolded
Because I was too late
Or too lazy
And the towels mildewed

From being folded damp
Rain-sweet and stiff

The jays harassed our cats
Our beagle dogs
Chained beneath the tree
Our neighbors' cats and dogs

And all the other birds
Who knew only song
Only the twitter of seed
From sunflower, heavy with oil

Bowed beneath the weight of summer
Which baked everything brown
Except the blue-barred jays
Heat sapped everything weak

Everything except the jays, who raised
Their quarrelsome brood above the clothesline

RAE SPENCER is a writer and veterinarian living in Virginia. Her poetry has appeared in print and online, receiving Pushcart Prize nominations in 2009 and 2010. She can be found on the web at