The Watchers, a poem by Jill Hedgecock, Photo by Stacy Macpherson-Spell

from a writer’s response prompt: The Watchers


Photo by Stacy Macpherson-Spell



by Jill Hedgecock

Camouflaged on red ruinous clay

Atop a termite-mound outpost

Six pairs of beady red eyes

A gang, a mob 

Of noisy chatter—

The ever-watchful dwarf mongooses

Hilltop sentry 

Alert for snakes

Pythons, cobra, black mamba

Deadly enemies must

Kill or be killed

Three dutiful pointed faces 

Stare ahead

Wary of the tribe of

Jackals stalking through grass

One vigilant lookout 

Eyes a marabou stork to left

Too distant

To vocalize 

Terrestrial predator alarm

Right sentinel 

Fascinated by twitching tail 

of spotted feline

Dozing leopard

Not yet a threat


Perched tawny eagle 

Takes flight

Aerial predator alarm call

Silences chatter


Twelve beady eyes

Disappear into

Red ruinous clay tunnels 

About the Author

Jill Hedgecock is an award-winning and internationally-published author. She is a regular contributor to The Diablo Gazette and her freelance articles have been featured on the front cover multiple times.  Her short stories, personal essays and nonfiction pieces have appeared in multiple anthologies, newspapers, and magazines. Rhino in the Room, her debut novel, received a New Apple Literary Indie Book Award. Her Doberman-inspired novels are sure to please dog lovers.

Jill served as the Program Coordinator Mount Diablo branch of the California Writers Club (CWC) for 8 years and was honored to receive the Distinguished Service Award for a second time in 2018. She has judged the Young Writer’s Contest sponsored by CWC for over ten years and for the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for multiple years.

You can find her at or on Amazon at