When the world was young.

black cockatoo slipped



Aunty Lorraine’s voice

Strong, husky, rhythmic

shares with me a story of Dharawal land

invites me into below the surface

Phonetic tendrils 

from ear to heart


They never knew what death was…pre death

Imagine she asks

She follows the animals, talks to their world. Which she paints and creates.

I get lost in my imaginings

people pre-wars, families pre-refugee, pre-escape, running

fear and torture, pre-miscarriage, pre-desperate longing for connections lost

pre-othering, pre-split of identity of Australian/El Salvadorian, 

pre go back to where you came from.


Poor baby cockatoo…all the birds and animals gathered

Her voice guides me back to the now that I am living

this telling in rhythmic intervals

always ready to laugh In repartee with Aunty Narelle

a sisterhood of spirit unfolding before me

Sound coils

from heart to heart


The spirits came and took the cockatoo up 

into the sky to change him to something new

Lines are painted. Storied forms  from Auntys’ hands

Pot paints always at the ready, shades, colours, elements to be united.

Canvas and hearts transformed

Coomaditchie love 

transmitting welcome.

This space of truth, strength, knowing

Surpassing the violence of a racialized life ever present 

on their bodies, in the land, in being, in the structures of power 

that deny their existence whilst present only because of.


The caterpillars offer to go and return 

with new bodies they were the first butterflies

Courage to know and share story

To lead with kindness 



visions in paint, mind, community

In a hall on a lake

Black matriarchs

Monarch memory


The birds and the animals agreed it was a good thing

the most beautiful of symbols.

To wait out the winter

forced flourishing



to fly on Dharawal land.