Published in Overland Issue 229 Summer 2017 · Uncategorized Quarry Ali Jane Smith The 53 bus rollercoasters Robsons Road. My small son and I sit up the front. From every crest we share a lordly view William Street, Cochrane Street, Shepherd Street. The bus stops near the copse by Buckle Crescent. I see a dark shape, furry and alive A kangaroo? A little horse? It’s a deer, a deer, a garden-wrecking Rusa deer, down from the escarpment hungry, or forced out. It strides up to the bus and climbs aboard head tilted to manoeuvre antlers. The driver overlooks the lack of fare roars uphill and swings into Mt Keira Road on amber. My son turns to stare, and I twist too a hand on his quickened ribs. I’d like to touch that thick, chocolate-coloured coat. The smell of roses on its breath exotic enough. The deer nods, sets us at ease with a comment on the weather. It’s been a mild, dry autumn not much feed on the escarpment. ‘We come down to your gardens at night. Eat what we can ’til we’re chased off.’ ‘Whoso list to hunt, I know where art an hind,’ I say under my breath, but the deer wags its antlers. ‘No hind I.’ A sigh. ‘Poets have neglected us of late yet here we are game as ever,’ blushing at its pun. ‘Our position is awkward. Perhaps we’re best forgotten.’ ‘There’s Elizabeth Bishop’s Moose,’ I offer ‘and Martin Harrison mentions a white-tailed deer. One of his flashes of white in a landscape.’ It’s probably tactless to bring up Stafford’s over-solemn ‘Travelling through the dark’. I prefer the sad wit of Gascoigne’s ‘Woodsmanship’ a poem about – I don’t know what – letting live? My son breaks in with a verse of ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’. The Rusa laughs. ‘A jolly song that holds a sort of truth. Not the silly nose: I mean the young buck at first excluded, going on to lead the herd.’ Another sigh. The Rusa raises its head. Looks out at the shops and cafes. I don’t want to leave things awkward so I ask where he’ll hop off. ‘Just before Springhill Road. I’ll graze my way across the golf course to the beach. Find out what seaweed tastes like before someone comes for me.’ Read the rest of Overland 229 If you enjoyed this poem, buy the issue Or subscribe and receive four outstanding issues for a year 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 30 November 202330 November 2023 · Urbanism The Plains exposes the psychic terrain of Victoria’s highways Fred Pryce The Plains charts the psychic terrain of the freeway in miniature, peeling back the lid of the private vehicle to expose just one of the millions of dramas taking place in simultaneity, severed from one another yet still part of the same city-wide traffic ballet. First published in Overland Issue 228 29 November 202329 November 2023 · Housing Conflicts of classes and interests: why it’s vital for renters to organise — and tell our stories Jordie van den Berg Some of the stories that have already been shared on shitrentals.org show not only the horrible state of Australia’s housing landscape, with hundreds of images uploaded showing mould in its various stages of progression, caved-in ceilings and electrical work that could only be the product of a drunk landlord — but also the more insidious nature of the real estate industry.