A scrub jay wakes me up at 6:35 a.m. Pacific yelling his head off from the back corner of the roof over our bed and then again straight at the kitchen door. I say "scrub jay" as if I don't know exactly which one. I say scrub jay as if anyone would believe we are strangers to each other. This is not the scrub jay I worry about getting right. I get out of bed at 8:12 a.m. when I start to feel guilty about my undisciplined mornings and the unnamed birdie hammers something plastic with his face. Woodpeckers have sturdy skulls with springy linings that allow for a lot of wailing but I'm not so sure about this jay and in fact his attitude is a little fucking squirrelly. I am led to believe by her casual posting up on the roof that the crow has waited patiently all this time. One of us makes coffee and I manage to expand time and space first thing by drinking the coffee out of a thermos that keeps it hot forever. I am not saving a cup today; I am merely passing through. I started leaving unsalted peanuts-in-shell on the fire escape two years ago because I wanted crows to bring me tributes. What might a crow have access to in this city that would feel like a fair trade to both of us? The racist classist fever dreams of my neighbors' posts to Nextdoor fuel some of my imaginings. Maybe the crow is the succulents thief, the Amazon package thief, the magazine salesperson, the doorbell ringer. Right away the crow brought me one the greatest gifts of my life, a scrub jay competitor who I am not ready to eulogize yet. Apparently it's legitimate to mourn the distant as well as the dead. At some point in the last two years I walked out onto the fire escape and found a small orange pile of crisp-dried burrito rice on the rail and thought "the crow knows me better than I know the crow" but for the most part I stopped thinking about the exchange of goods. I haven't seen my friend who is a scrub jay for six weeks and the antics of this new one and the things I am supposed to be doing are distracting. I forgot entirely so the crow brought my gift: a packet of Cholula, punctured and desiccated. We distrust crows because they observe us so closely and value the enormity of our garbage.