Published in Overland Issue Poetry First, do no harm Jordan Barling It will probably start with something that seems pretty reasonable, like driving on a freeway with your baby puckered so new, her eyebrows still felted to her hairline. It is your neck that yields to lassitude first, driving skyward on a bridge surprised when it unthreads right in front of you just at its apex, traffic banks back but in only your lane, all horizon blue. In high school, two of your friends, closer to each other than to you say the word ‘swallow’ like a pharyngeal spirit board and just like that, neither can. Because other people have to drive you now, when you go for weekends away the husk of pre-sleep is consumed with visions of the driver in various states of bodily disruption, and you, stranded. It reaches like the sweaty arms of adoring fans, methodically picking off a friend, your baby’s bath, the house you tuck yourself inside, work, eventually words, however banal, come wrapped in a silt of consternation. In your memory, a place that is constantly mauling itself, one girl says to the other I worry that one day, instead of saying swallow, we will say breathe. Jordan Barling Jordan Barling is a writer from Melbourne. She is a past winner of the St Martins Young Playwrights Award and studied as part of the Young Writers Program at the Royal Court Theatre (London). Her poetry is included in the most recent volume of Antithesis Journal. More by Jordan Barling 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 16 December 202225 January 2023 Poetry Poetry | Wombats shit candy Michael Farrell To avoid treading on a snake, I stepped on a land mine. Did this really happen, in my dream? No. Is it a fiction, then? Yes and no. The time I spend looking for socks is insignificant: lie, irony, or philosophy? Wombats shit candy. Joke – hallucination? This is in fact a truth claim. My poems: litanies of truth claims. 1 First published in Overland Issue 228 14 December 202225 January 2023 Reviews The moral risk of taking things too seriously: on Gareth Morgan’s When A Punk Becomes A Spunk Elese Dowden In his review of Lucy Van’s The Open, Gareth Morgan writes that Van writes 'against the impulse to ponder dutifully about the sins of the past and present.' This fucked me up for some time. What is it to ponder dutifully? But perhaps more importantly, how do we ponder in a way that's more … metal?