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The Witch of Uluru

by Visalakshi Viswanathan

On arid seas near Uluru,
Beneath a blazing midnight sun,
A witch and her didgeridoo
Raise swarming fleets of scorpion.

A fire as cold as hell itself
She lights with breath of twilight dew
And weaves upon the desert’s shelf
A dreary dream of crystal hue.

Like Nanites in supernal space,
Young scorpions dive into the flames;
A lash, and moisture from her face,
In drops they swirl, as she exclaims,


Apu puli wiya kanku
Kutju Tjitji wiru Tjitji
Tarka kata kapi Waru
kutju Tjitji wiru Tjitji !

Mountain without shadow,
give me a child, a beautiful child.
Fire and sap of the earth,
give me a child, a beautiful child.

From clouds of smoke and spectral lines
Appears in twists and glowing twirls
A girl, as a thousand anodynes,
With skin of bronze and eyes like pearls.

The witch, ecstatic, jigs a jig,
But lightning bolts transmute the child
Into an arachnid so big
It swills the witch there, in the wild.

The drones of her didgeridoo
And echoes of her haunting chants
Imbue the hum of Uluru,
Where witches’ souls sashay and prance.

* *

Author’s note: The witch chants in Pitjantjatjara, the Australian aboriginal language spoken in the region around Uluru.
Uluru is also known as Ayer’s Rock.

Copyright © 2014 by Visalakshi Viswanathan

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