Published 31 December 202116 March 2022 · Poetry / Friday Features / Friday Poetry Poetry | It was Jennifer Compton It was 1980. I was writer-in-residence at a university. I had booked a meeting room for the first reading of a play. But three young men were dug in deep with each other. I became stiff and shrill. — ‘Did you book this room? I booked this room!’ — They glanced at each other, they gathered their materials together, — their ‘seminal’ texts re ‘the woman question’ — they folded their hands and they stood. Tears leapt out of my eyes like crazy diamonds. I held my chin with the palm of one hand so I wouldn’t judder. Like, I can’t judder. I am the writer-in-residence. And tears leapt out of their eyes too, the young crew of woken men, as they walked out into the bright air of a new world. I often think of them, still. * On the Monday I miscarried. On Wednesday my father died. I had flown in. I was sitting at the dining room table on the Friday telling my mother I was out of money and the phone rang. I had won a playwriting competition. I was in the money. Her eyes shone. My mother. (Her magical child.) (But it wasn’t stupid money. I have never won stupid money. I would imagine that would half ruin you, stupid money would.) * It was 1975. My first play. My first director. I had written myself up and out of everything. Of everything. He was coming round to finesse my play, my first play. He threw me onto the floor. I squeaked. I made a little squeak. He spread himself on top of me. Grinding and grinning. He said — ‘I love the feeling of your breasts against my chest.’ — And I went off my head! It went blue, it went white, kaleidoscope. I ran in circles, limping and panting and although I thought I was screaming, I felt I was screaming, I probably wasn’t. * It was 1983. I was strolling my big belly around my home town. I thought I might as well pop into the bank and pick up an entry form for the short story comp. As the teller handed it to me she asked with a pregnant smile — ‘Is it for your husband?’ — I didn’t shout — ‘Three years ago I won the bloody thing!’ — No. I shuffled my big belly back out onto the street. Surely it is very bad for a child to feel such blind resentment hammering their mother’s heart. * I could go on. And on. And on. I could go on and on and on. And I will. But not just now. Now I will sit still. Like this. Overland’s Friday Features project is supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund. Jennifer Compton Jennifer Compton lives in Melbourne. Her 11th book of poetry a moment, taken was published by Recent Work Press in 2021. More by Jennifer Compton › 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 24 November 202324 November 2023 · Friday Poetry Poem with vertical viewfinder Shari Kocher If in future an image of mine— of course, I have made the if-ness of your looking a multiple Ferris wheel turned to trolley car trundling down the street. Damn, I will show you something all right here, inside the daily or what you call private. First published in Overland Issue 228 3 November 20233 November 2023 · Poetry our neighbours poem Ender Başkan our neighbours face appears above the fence – hello. our neighbours have a chat with us. our neighbours learn our names. our neighbours become our friends. our neighbours landlord thinks the market is ripe. our neighbours are told to leave. our neighbours try to buy their house at an exorbitant price to keep their kids in the school zone. our neighbours are denied.