Perihelion: An Online Journal of Poetry and Mayhem
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Jennifer Harrison

ULURU

I

We hired a car thinking this might be our only visit
the landscape in headphones, almost acrylic.

Blinged in khaki and dust-crusted clothes,
we walked the tracks strung out around the stones.

We were familiar families on self–funded tours
self-esteemed into deference, as grateful as fruit.

We were swimming in hotel pools, timing trajectories
with waterproof watches and paperthin Nokia phones.

Leaf-like in their beauty, the noon-mirages were effigies. . .
and the Rock in the distance beyond dayglo sympathies

settled like amethyst over spinifex, wild colours
to the night, a palette as luminous as Rothko’s.

There was camel dung on the walking track. Spoor
smelling of desert wars in Africa. Didgeridoos called

from the sooty-ringed trees and it was the breath of  wood
sucking and flowering we heard. A tourist tried to blow

and made the sound of a dreadful bell.
We tried to find the best view of Uluru at sunset

but all seemed wondrous enough; all the ‘the best’.

 

II

The yellow flowers of the Honey Grevillia:
remind me of children and their yellow summers.

A crow’s shadow falls across the billabong
like the elbow of a foetus winging through some hidden womb.

The womb of the rufous hare wallaby is in this rock,
this borrowed sign in my hand, belonging to Mala Puta.

In landscapes I think myself improvisatory,
loving, attached to the moments of  music. I follow

the story of the land as though, coming after,
the future is an air to be breathed, sucked through

the smaller hollows we have cut from disaster.
Yesterday I heard desert music: a butcher bird,

the blood song in its throat. Half moon in the sky,
all day long—Uluru, this winter.