Inside the mission church the air
cool around a lacquered Madonna
and Child: her robe is blue, her crown
yellowy gold, the wall behind
of zinc-grey corrugated iron
which they salvaged from an army hut.
To the left, pulpit and sanctuary
backdrop painted like the altar
in ochres – their Great Emu’s blood
gift to the earth, with brown and yellow
wavy lines summoning the Rainbow
herald of the mother Kunapipi,
the great sky-snake who makes
the rain and rivers, who leads
the spirit children to the womb.