This poem, ‘Whistling Wretch,’ is focused on an Amerindian myth, The Kanaima. Different beliefs exist and this piece simply portrays one of them. An interesting aspect about this revenge-seeking spirit is that it would torture its victims rather than just murder them. It will announce the impending attack by a shrill whistle. The Kanaima can then take any form and attack. The victim in this poem was assaulted and killed by the Kanaima in the form of a black panther.


By Priyanka Ramdihal

A sanguine trickle of pain from where the cassava’s claws had slashed my finger,
The shadows of dense green leaning over my shoulder,
A heavy cloud of tranquility hovered my naive form,
As I blindly worked my way through the thickets.

A shrill whistle impaled my serenity,
The hairs at the back of my neck listened for the source,
My saucer eyes darted wildly in the shrouded display,
Another agonisingly low one, vibrating through my poised limbs.

My collapsed heart pleaded for silent mercy,
As my inevitable fate rose to its full height,
And scrutinised my weakened soul with merciless pitch-black eyes,
Its black paw beginning to take a step closer, sealing my doom.

With each thundering stomp, its lip boasted threateningly sharp teeth,
Its white pearl contrasting the night sky and strewn with red,
And claws were knives,
Stood hungry and getting closer.

I forgot to breathe, unable to run, this was my only escape.
But why couldn’t I do it? Is this what fear feels like?
Terror harshly mutilated my mind,
Turning it against itself, fighting like a cornered soldier.

Something clicked in my hollow mind,
Any whiff of fear and sanity dissipated into a neglected turmoil,
Although the Kanaima has my dislocated shoulder in its grasp,
I am not afraid, I am safe now. Safe from the whistling wretch.

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