Published in Overland Issue 240 Spring 2020 · Uncategorized sandwiches Zenobia Frost when the orderly comes to take the tray of sandwiches Dad can’t possibly eat I am compelled by an impulse to eat the sandwiches and also to catalogue them for a later poem that I know I will write / here is the poem 20 months later led by the mock pulse of throaty lungfuls / hot air / I want to eat the sandwiches because they are there and free and I have trained myself to fill up on hors d’oeuvres in a crisis / a blanket over the vinyl chair says HEALTH which seems ironic and funny and I want to take a picture of the blanket but I wait until everyone is out of the room / I want to take a picture of Dad but I don’t because I am ashamed / as a child I had to dig up my fish in their matchboxes from under the petunias just to check / I always knew this would be a big poem because of the way the room ballooned / my aunt nervous because Dad didn’t want anyone to see him like this / not even me / Mum Janette Bec Aunt me Dad / that’s not that many until the nurse folds in the trundle bed / what my aunt means is why is my girlfriend there / imagine being in the first breath of love and meeting her dad already unconscious / a few days later meeting her entire blood / welcome to the family / I would rather Aunt stayed out / so performative with an arm over mum wailing / I get a minute alone and I am like Dad let me tell you about the giant stingrays overhead / can you see them? / we’re going round and round the tunnel at the aquarium / all the moray eels popping their heads out to say bye / I tried to sing ‘Dangerous’ by Roxette but I couldn’t / I needn’t have worried about sandwiches because Janette has made a tonne / Janette is stalwart and practical and when she makes you sandwiches you eat them / this is a love I can understand / hi to Graeme & Janette from this poem / a couple of days before I’d put Dad’s socks on his cold feet / if I am honest I didn’t visit hospital much because my parents were always there taking turns / hospital was our summer house / I thought Dad would light up when I told him I’d started boxing but he didn’t so I was a sullen teen again / his only question was when are you going to learn to drive so I thought I’d get my license while he was getting better and then ta da / people started saying ask your Dad lots of questions about his life but he never asked about mine / Dad loved to have a cheese-and-Branston Pickle sandwich at like 11pm and then complain to Mum about buying carbs / I hold my breath when my aunt calls down the hall where I am dozing with a sandwich / a doctor comes in to call time and the nurse snips at him for not taking off the oxygen mask / it is 10.45pm so close to sandwich hour / she calls Dad sweetie / okay sweetie / a surprise breath / it’s all right / Aunt starts asking Dad’s spirit to fix the lotto in her favour / sweetie / soon I will make many phone calls and discover all the ways people react to bad news / I didn’t realise how quickly it happens the body changes like that / one second it just wants me to drive and then it can’t eat the sandwiches Read the rest of Overland 240 If you enjoyed this piece, buy the issue Or subscribe and receive four brilliant issues for a year Zenobia Frost Zenobia Frost is a poet from Brisbane whose latest collection, After the Demolition (Cordite Books), explores pop culture, queer joy, place attachment and belonging. She recently received a Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award. More by Zenobia Frost › 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 8 December 2023 · Fiction Fiction | The Victims Emma Jayne Willson Every morning I checked the Director’s calendar to ensure there were no meeting clashes, no opportunity for her polished façade to slip. Once I’d made the mistake of booking two meetings without leaving ten minutes between them, thus forcing her to run across the sprawling campus. She arrived late for her meeting with the Provost, […] First published in Overland Issue 228 7 December 20238 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.