Published in Overland Issue 205 Summer 2011 · Uncategorized Mary: A Fiction Eileen Chong [E]ither destroy the embryo in the womb, or cast it off when born Mary Wollstonecraft, 1792 No light streamed through the shutters when I woke this morning. I knew you had taken root this past night. I felt a curious quickening of my womb – with Fanny, I’d thought it the low anger of the crowds roiling in the streets, or the dull pull of hunger in the orange days of summer. I left the warm bed and your father, crossing the room in bare feet. My pamphlet read: Men ought to maintain the women whom they have seduced. At my desk in my nightclothes I wondered: What manner of child might you become, born of the coupling of minds as much as bodily passions between man and woman not bound by church or ritual but by poetry, argument and love? I imagine your violent entry, your searing cry, your relentless suckle at my breast. If you be female, I shall name you Mary. Perhaps when there are enough of us, Mary, we shall call the sky, the seas, the stars, the moon into being: we shall write of something that is wholly woman. We shall create without man. In my mind’s eye I see your perfect, infant fingers curl around a pen. Eileen Chong Eileen Chong is an Australian poet. She is the author of eight books. Her next collection of poetry, A Thousand Crimson Blooms is forthcoming from UQP in April 2021. She lives and works on unceded Gadigal land of the Eora Nation. www.eileenchong.com.au More by Eileen Chong › 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 7 December 20237 December 2023 · Food Righteous appetites: the dilemmas of the ethical omnivore’s diet Jaimee Edwards The pastoral is our setting for the good life that puts the 'ethical' in 'ethical sausage'. The websites for small-scale farms and ethical meat butchers around the world look like brochures for retirement living. Together, the happy animals, their conscientious handlers, and ceremonial butchers form a picture of aligned values. First published in Overland Issue 228 6 December 20236 December 2023 · The environment A sitting duck? Environmentalism and working-class recreation Scott Robinson Masculinity, like hunting, cannot on its own explain the persistent tensions between environmentalism and labour. Work itself dominates the formation of our relationship with nature, so that even in play and leisure we are shaped by the physical and mental techniques applied to us in employment.