She went to the archives stretched out in the land
Followed their tracks Followed their scents nipping in the wind
Followed a canvas sniffing out the paint.
She sent out the brushstrokes to become picture words
Reeling in acrylic memory
Reeling in encounters with testimony
Reeling in the sites of her aunties’ significances.
She called out to the images against the grain
Installed in galleries, libraries, town halls
Murals and tracks and scents and canvas
And mouths, and songs and steps
And gestures, she danced.
She called out “Here comes the butterfly
Lamenting the suffering of the Koori song, Murri Song, Warlpiri song, Kimberly song,
Mekeo song, Man song, Woman song, Human song,”
She danced the revisions of her story
In layers upon layers
Of the red earth
Yellow earth, brown earth and white clay.
© June Perkins, First published in Aboriginal History 30, 2006.