Published in Overland Issue 244 Spring 2021 · Poetry Stick insects Elizabeth Allen In the dream I give birth to twins but they aren’t human: they are small spindly creatures a lot like stick insects. When I am discharged from hospital we take them out to the car and I put them in the baby capsules. The baby capsules have been installed by your friend from California. The one who I met when he came to Australia to be your best man at our wedding. The skinny one with very long hair and a pink paisley tie. I am trying to put the harness around each of their tiny stick waists and wondering how it will hold them when I realise the long-haired best man hasn’t fitted the baby capsules properly. I will have to take both of the stick insect babies in the front seat with me and hold one in each hand. I try to pinch their tiny stick waists tightly between two fingers. But not too hard in case they snap. We are now in a crowded restaurant and somehow I have dropped the babies so we are crawling around on the floor trying to find them. We do this frantically for a long time, finding a way through all of the people and under the furniture. Then I have them again but I am still scared of losing them, so scared. Sure enough I am looking right at them in my hands when they disintegrate into a fine sand-like substance which blows away. I am looking at my empty hands. When I wake up I think that is a bit cliché: not that a skinny friend with a paisley tie came from California to fit our baby capsules—that bit was quite original—but how many dreams must end with empty hands? Read the rest of Overland 244 If you enjoyed this piece, buy the issue Or subscribe and receive four brilliant issues for a year Elizabeth Allen Elizabeth Allen is a poet and short story writer based in Sydney where she also works as a bookseller at Gleebooks. Her work has found frequent publication in well-respected journals and anthologies both in Australia and overseas, including Cordite, Ajar, Bodega, Overland, Southerly, Meanjin, Australian Book Review, and SAND. The author of two poetry collections, Body Language (Vagabond Press, 2012) and Present (Vagabond Press, 2017), Elizabeth won the Dame Leonie Kramer Prize in 2001 and the Anne Elder Award in 2012. More by Elizabeth Allen › 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 3 November 20233 November 2023 · Poetry our neighbours poem Ender Başkan our neighbours face appears above the fence – hello. our neighbours have a chat with us. our neighbours learn our names. our neighbours become our friends. our neighbours landlord thinks the market is ripe. our neighbours are told to leave. our neighbours try to buy their house at an exorbitant price to keep their kids in the school zone. our neighbours are denied. First published in Overland Issue 228 25 October 202325 October 2023 · Poetry The inhabitants Elif Sezen I died today, among many others, my grandpa died too, and our neighbours, / my best friend, the one with braided hair yes, and our sweet sweet doctors, / our motherly nurses... We heard a blast, then a whoosh of some kind, / and all gone.