“What I Mean When I Use the Term, ‘Witch Doctor Sad'” by Erik Campbell

Erik Campbell

WHAT I MEAN WHEN I USE THE TERM, “WITCH DOCTOR SAD”

After a hard spring rain when the after
air has just enough heft, I think

of the witch doctor the mining company
I barely worked for for five years

would fly in from Sulawesi to Papua
for the corrupt Regional Governor’s

Annual Golf Tournament, which
the Governor always won by fiat or had to

sometimes lose to his current mistress,
imported from Timika for the week.

The witch doctor’s job was to keep the rain
at bay by way of herbal fires and atavistic

chants; the mistress’s job was not to be
the corrupt Governor’s wife for as long

as she and the trip would last. And I
wrote the above so that you’ll understand

what I mean by insisting there are few things
sadder than a witch doctor failing in the rain

with an audience watching and waiting,
pointing out the sky to him with golf clubs.

from Rattle #47, Spring 2015

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Erik Campbell: “I read and write poetry to remind myself that I have a soul that needs a periodic tune-up.” (website)



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