12 November 202117 December 2021 Poetry / Friday Features Poetry | The conversation with pest control Ali Jane Smith Not everyone knows I was once a giant cockatoo, and the moon is an egg I laid. I tried to keep my egg warm but I was a drag on the tides so I flapped back down to earth and left her alone in the sky, cold and reflective. Bump. Lost my wings. Lost my beak and claws. Soft hands, slippery mouth, plain feet. It’s been a dry, dry year. 82 mulberries missed by the flying foxes and me fell and were crushed, by coincidence onto the grey pavers in exact and tiny replicas of Goya’s Disasters of War. At the bus stop a bluetongue lizard lives beneath the warm cement. The bluetongue always has questions asks me to ask the man in the street why he is looking up into the branches of the old eucalypt? The man points out a hive, another hive, another and two more. He’s been told to persuade the bees out of the tree so the chainsaw operators won’t be stung. But the queens are deep in the limbs. The bees won’t leave. Even smoke won’t make them drowsy after a season of fire. They’re dancing the story of the bees on the space shuttle Discovery learning to fly in zero g. The moon has set. The bluetongue has warmed up and moved on. The pest controller and me stand earthed, contemplating the tree I can’t describe: ugly, beautiful dangerous, safe, irresolvable, hollow the boughs like the sturdy arms of a daughter the boughs full of bees, keeping the tree. A place to rest your sulphur crest. Overland’s Friday Features project is supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund. Ali Jane Smith Ali Jane Smith’s poetry has been published in literary journals such as Cordite, Overland, Southerly, Rabbit Poetry Journal, Mascara Literary Review and Plumwood Mountain. She has also written reviews and essays for The Australian, Australian Poetry Journal, Cordite, Mascara, Southerly, and Sydney Review of Books. More by Ali Jane Smith 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 2 December 20222 December 2022 The university In search of lost bargains: An interview with Scott Fitzgerald, Ryan Mead-Hunter and Francis Russell of the Bargain Hunters podcast Scott Robinson and Danni McGrath We discovered Bargain Hunters: The Curtin NTEU EBA Podcast as our own university, Monash, and the local branch of the NTEU) enter their own bargaining round. After years of workers bearing the burden of rapid COVID changes, cost of living pressures, overwork and decades of growing job insecurity, this bargaining round feels different: an opportunity for workers to articulate a vision of the university against the neoliberalised, corporate managerialism that dominates the sector and most workplaces in the country. First published in Overland Issue 228 25 November 202228 November 2022 Poetry Poetry | Summer animal Jini Maxwell This summer I can feel myself turning back into an animal. I wake up early and seek out trees, walking through the expansive quiet of the park until the heat starts feeling sharp on my skin. I leave the blinds closed, so when I return home the building is dark and familiar, and as I shut the door behind me I feel a satisfaction I can only describe as territorial.