Blackbird: Watcher in the Desert – Delores Merrill

The figure must be a mirage
             existing in obedience to the sun
             beating overhead,
yet I see
shimmering ebony feathers
            heat unruffled as if in black pitch
            fusing into a perfect shadow
           directly underneath feet
           that do not lift from the simmering
           flat surface of a desert rock,
a staid gaze
           that burns into something ethereal
           penetrating beyond the prehistoric-layered palettes
           of violets and rose-tinged browns
where no trees grow,
a solitary profile
           as generations of its kind have been
           seen first by ancient Navaho
           and carved eons ago
           in heat-stroked walls and cliffs,
and as I reach out to touch hesitate
instead defer to unction,
           drop raisins and Ritz
           pour warm bottled water over the feet
                            as a libation
           that quickly evaporates into dry heat
           before it reaches the rock’s cracks,
step back,
but no movement, no shift
          of the day-infused
          hypnotic watch,
no tilt of the head.
Surely in darkness
the eyes are closed.

Delores MerrillDelores Busbee Merrill, Niceville Florida. With an MFA in Theatre and MA in Creative Writing she taught at a college in south Alabama then retired from working in theatre at a college in northwest Florida. She has had plays produced locally and regionally, poetry, short fiction and nonfiction published in literary magazines and various chapbooks, and has won photography ribbons in regional competitions.