Mockingbird, Smyth Chapel Road

By Felicia Mitchell

The color of asphalt,
this mockingbird blends in
like a berry stain on my bruise.
And he is frozen, too,
the way a deer would be,
in bright headlights,
but it is not light that startles.
It is the uncertainty
this side of the nest,
grass and tree lost for now,
for this twilit moment,
which feels too long.
The whole road feels too long.
Human, I stand there with him,
a shadow of a bird’s frailty
except we are both strong.
So I will stand here with this bird
until two trucks pass
and night begins to fall some more
and the mother mockingbird
flitting and fussing above us
on the utility line
gets through to the little bird
with her bird language
in a way I cannot with words.
Only it is not a competition.
I do what I do, and I walk on,
berries in my grocery bag,
as the gray bird chooses green.