Published 9 July 20215 August 2021 · Friday Features / Friday Poetry Poetry | the lovely one will come Marion May Campbell so now the future’s sealed by the plague outside the jar – their faces mouthing something don’t you dare old-grey-mare me our Flossie says greying to white except where the fags her last pleasure left have yellowed that perm-frizzed bang she’s bright-eyed with that power- glare we old ones use against the wasting battery oh yes but she’ll refuse to join our off-key singalongs she’ll wheel herself outside & under eaves fag in hand she’ll test her rhythmic memory she’s got a repertoire to fill a school anthology of favourite poems Beware! Beware! His flashing eyes, his floating hair! she warns the Aged Care visitors & under rugs of clichéd granny squares they’ve got us all lined up docile – still as rocks – not true – inside the darling shadows move at different speeds black floaties on our eyeballs are not the only movie we watch we travel more febrile than the fierce red dots on their monitors refusing still to flatline oh love you’ve had enough no need to scrape your plate now you can’t eat that picture dear how many times do we have to strip your beds they pressure-hose us on moulded shower chairs to keep us in a semi-doze they watch us like lice as we swallow our meds then they don’t sometimes I think to them we’re like that hunger artist I read about way back when unreadable bones he becomes just fiddlesticks beneath the pile of straw oh here’s an empty cage the circus manager says just right for this sleek young panther – we’ll stick him in there & then I’m almost glad to float away in the long twilight of the senses numbness rises & rises a swollen river over snags & sharp detritus what’s that thing the nightnurse said I had in that wordburst of his that leaves this skin black- bruised & tore got a handful of words not too many names anymore they don’t know where I’m coming from tucked away in that crumpled place crumpet place ha want to laugh but there’s no one here to share the joke about the sinkholes that swallow all the names but I’m telling you the lovely one will come the one with blue-black hair thick as coir-mat bristles the one who pours his dark molasses voice through all these wards & corridors & pulls my earphones off to ask how I am today – or was that yesterday? Marion May Campbell Marion’s most recent books are a memoir The Man on the Mantelpiece (UWAP, 2018) and a poetry collection third body (Whitmore Press, 2018). She now lives in Drouin, in Kurnai-Gunai country, with her two border collies. More by Marion May Campbell › Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 15 September 202326 September 2023 · Friday Features Activating the poetic spirit as friendship John Kinsella I’ve always had the aching feeling that—as a text to be shared among friends and maybe eventually ‘enemies’—the soul-body dialogue poem is a way of arguing towards spiritual certainty in the face of earthly corruption and doubt. First published in Overland Issue 228 8 September 202312 September 2023 · Poetry Poetry | Games Heather Taylor-Johnson Days pinch and lately I’ve noticed every time I look in the mirror I’m squinting—maybe it’s a grimace. Without trying I’ve mastered the façade of a Besser block threatened by a mallet, by which I mean maybe the world won’t kill me but it’ll definitely hurt and I’ve got to be ready.