Margaret Katherine, elder of the Jawoyn Tribe
and care keeper of the sacred rock shelter cave
is as black and ancient as ebony stone.
She stands in front of the entrance like a lionsgate.
The cave’s ceiling opens up into a heaven of thousands
of rust-colored drawings of pots, figures, prehistoric fish
turtles, wallabies, lizards, snakes, crocs.
Unlike the Sistine Chapel with its overwhelming
naked male flesh and old testament themes of sin
and violence and judgement, the soft carmine and
ochres of the cave reflect daily and familiar comforts.
Unlike the pedantic cubicles of the hieroglyphics
in Egyptian pharaoh tombs with their stilted linearities
the soft chalk bodies of women color the cave’s canopy
in a closer reflection of true creation and afterlife.
A large woman in a headdress or a halo floats
on the concave roof. She could be an angel,
a spirit or more likely one of Margaret’s ancestors.
Margaret Katherine goes to the cave every day
to speak to the spirits who she says, speak back.