by Marilyn Darley Williams

(for Valene)

The Holy of Holies is found
between the reeds and bulrushes
of the fresh water marshes.
The yellow-headed blackbird avows
his adulation in song,
while she skitters from reed
to branch. Pelicans glide by in pairs.
Avocets and black-necked stilts,
with long spindle legs,
cut through water like cross-country
skiers. And there, beyond the parting
water, a single post looms.
A lone cormorant perches,
his ebony neck elongated,
his massive wings extended
like black vestments.
These are holy waters
over which he takes flight, his dark
shadow bestowing a benediction
in the language of the earth.

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