Published in Overland Issue 215 Winter 2014 Uncategorized Castrato Michelle Cahill When the kitten with a dislocated limb is euthanised, you’ve stopped reading my blog, my sister refuses the call, a bargirl on the south side of Sydney is being shagged, when every contract is optional, the ping-pong game is over, the flat day reeks of a stinking premonition on the pretext of afternoon teacake, vanilla-iced, served with the luminous smiles of a stay-at-home mum to reprise me of the stakes I’ve gambled, make-up too bright, or remind me falciparum malaria hooks up to maggots glossing the trash heaps on Manus Island, page 6 – when the slush pile of supplier statements, invoices, failure-to-pays I’ve ignored becomes a pylon, having clocked up as many as twelve angry men who’d expect equality and dignity are unconditional? When I’ve almost crossed the desert hallucinating Lasseter’s cave, with a parasitic strangle when poetry raids every layer of self-respect so I can no longer read newsprint, let alone the opening sentence of my tenth surplus draft, syllable by syllable – I’ll start over like a teenage boy with secret admirers in the back seat of his mother’s 4WD, learning to curse before my voice breaks for the first time. Michelle Cahill Michelle Cahill is a Sydney writer. Her short story collection, Letter to Pessoa, won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for New Writing. She has received prizes in poetry and fiction. More by Michelle Cahill 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 25 November 202225 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. First published in Overland Issue 228 24 November 202225 November 2022 Politics ‘Sir, please get me the Manager’: Brazil before and after Bolsonaro Guido Melo By then, although young in age, I already knew about those rituals of humiliation and how they were part of my Black family's lives. I also knew that surviving those daily interactions required putting my head down and following the instructions received with no hesitation. I must have had ‘the talk ‘with my parents when I was eight or nine. Life was just like that. Being Black in Brazil means living in a war. No one should ever go to war underprepared.