Otway Fire Mother

Julie Maclean

 

The gully is numb today

eyes everywhere

 

as spirit winds

from the red heart

 

blow smoke, flames

and tangled atoms

 

into her dry hair of wild casuarina,

eucalyptus obliqua

 

Her belly soon fills

with rare hooded plover,

 

baby echidna, quolls

In her mouth

 

a caged platypus

swims from side to side

 

banging

against her teeth

 

She spits it out

as charcoal

 

like a lorikeet

spitting seeds

 

while a lyre bird

mimics

 

the cries of frogs—

Growling,

 

Banjo,

Striped Marsh, Spade-foot—

 

too slow too late

to leap or crawl

 

from the boiling pools

of her sacred eyes

 

Julie Maclean lives on the Surf Coast in Victoria, Australia, and has published three collections of poetry. Her fourth, ‘Lips that Did’  is due in 2017 from Dancing Girl Press, US. Blog: www.juliemacleanwriter.com

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