Don’t ask me why I chose to publish with this online magazine. I have to say that I loved the name:
An online poetry review, the editors love whacky, eccentric and unusual poetry. I just completed a prose poetry MFA class and came up with some “out there” prose poems. Of course, I can never leave that 99 year old shaman, Ma, alone for too long. Here she is again. Please comment if you like the prose poem and please comment if you don’t. I love sending out these short pieces and encourage you to share them. Best from the eccentric Australian American, American Australian, or whatever I am.
Ma, aboriginal toothless shaman, tosses her ninety-nine year old bones behind the steering wheel of the windowless jeep and jams her foot down on the accelerator. Desert driving, flash flood driving, rising waters near the top of the hubcaps and trackless tires sinking fast into whirling mud swirls. Sky blows blacker than her skin, wind whips welts into her hanging jawline, Ma pains on, the falling down mulga-wood homestead in sight, too distant on the boiling roiling horizon, straight one line straight line straight ahead no wavering but straight the shortest distance between two points. Rain pouring torrential, blinding into her old eyes, she keeps driving through driving rain to get home before the rusty untrusty jeep sinks deep into sudden ravines and eddies that grow fatter and hungrier. She reaches the leaning splitting woodpile homestead in the raining pouring driving wet, the wet, the Alice Springs wet, the wet that only those people who live in The Alice know and understand. The homestead swirls under water, turning and topsy and turvy and upside down and inside out, her favorite rocking chair in pieces, rusted pots banging together with an eerie sound like a bell tolling, the scraggy brown Kelpie swimming to meet her, tongue lolly-gagging “hello”, brown eyes yellowed and alight, but Ma’s jeep coughs and rattles and chokes and sinks with Ma not a swimmer but a hiker with strong old rambling legs sunk into army boots that now anchor her down in mud. She grabs the old dog’s matted neck and they both go down and around, thunder announcing their pending demise, kookaburra laughter long gone, gasping and hacking and gurgling Ma turns her face up level with the water, eyes turned to the heavens, to the ancient gods whose invisible hands don’t reach out.
“Where are you, you bastards?” she shouts to the sky and the dog whines a carping whittling fingernails-down-the blackboard cry that only those from Alice Springs, understand, only those from The Alice who have witnessed bleached brittle bones baked in desert heat and the dreadful prayers of those on a run for their lives, only those understand. Panting dog and woman cling to each other, going down, going down, going down but with a whoosh and a slosh the water suddenly stops,
the rain stops,
the rivers stop,
the widening knife-like gaps in red mud close and Ma, army boots ankle-deep in mud, stands on her feet again, holding the dog in her arms, standing in the watery footprints of a flash flood in Australian desert,
Kaye Linden, born and raised in Sydney, Australia, is a Registered Nurse with an MFA in fiction, now studying for an MFA in poetry. She is past short fiction editor and editor with the Bacopa Literary Review, occasional teacher of short fiction at Santa Fe College, assistant editor for Soundings Review, previous judge for Spark Anthology, and medical editor for “epresent learning lecture reviews.” Kaye’s work is widely published. Her books include Prasanga in the Underground World, Tales from Ma’s Watering Hole and Ten Thousand Miles from Home, available on all book sites and at www.kayelinden.com
Published today online at http://ratsassreview.net/