Image: Beach Track (c) June Perkins, all rights reserved.

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.

Image: Sky Tracks, all rights reserved.

© June Perkins, First published in Aboriginal History 30, 2006.


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