Published in Overland Issue 236 Spring 2019 · Uncategorized Toad Damen O'Brien Toad in the garden, which is the same as a snake in Eden or a crack in a mirror. Inexpungable blot of evil but we must try. The castle must be defended and each can be the mother of an empire, a pullulating and teeming pathogenesis threatening to gush out of the gaping mouth of nightmare, cover the world, flatten the lettuces. When we were young enough for casual violence we’d roam through the plush veil of darkness just beyond the moth-blow floodlights with cut down golf-clubs and feeble torches, stumbling and giggling, night-blind and sugar crazy, until we’d echo-locate the resolute density of a toad. Wild invisible arcs and that satisfying thump of bodies. Changeling stones, staring us down. There was a black plague creeping southward and Queensland was lost, untouchable and alien, the language of genocide, not that we knew it then, the protection of feral snowy river brumbies for the nostalgia of a poem was years away. Dot to dot brown spatter of the enemy laid out on wet season roads and our challenge was efficient returns, swerving the 4WD in slime. Inexhaustible armies of malevolence, but now I can’t decide on measures of humanity: cold frozen euthanasia over the gassing eternity of asphyxia. We sling her kicking and indomitable into her own hell, the bag crackling in the wheelie bin and for hours her scissoring legs thump out someone’s punishment until ants climb the lid, not offering rescue. Read the rest of Overland 236 If you liked this poem, buy the issue Or subscribe and receive four brilliant issues for a year Damen O'Brien Damen O’Brien is a Queensland poet. Damen was joint winner of the Peter Porter Poetry Prize and has won or been shortlisted for many others including Val Vallis Award for an Unpublished Poem, the Welsh International Poetry Prize and the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize. Damen has previously been published in Rabbit, Southerly, Cordite, Island, Verity La and StylusLit. More by Damen O'Brien › 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 4 December 20234 December 2023 · Climate politics Where is the Australian climate movement’s solidarity with Palestine? Alex Kelly Let this be a line in the sand. Let us learn our history. Let us listen to liberation movements around the world. Conflicts for land and water will shape the decades to come. Showing up for each other and building power to demand justice is our only hope for a humane future. First published in Overland Issue 228 1 December 20231 December 2023 · History ‘We’re doing everything but treaty’: Law reform and sovereign refusal in the colonial debtscape Maria Giannacopoulos I coined the concept of the colonial debtscape while working to understand the relation between debt and sovereignty in the wake of the 2007 Global Financial crisis. Despite the referendum held in Greece in 2015 where the people voted against austerity, austerity as punishment, was imposed anyway. As this was a colonising move, that is, the imposition of an external and foreign law on local populations against their will, it was to Aboriginal scholars here that I turned to begin to put the pieces together.