Butch Queen



for Candy Royalle & those who loved her, in gratitude


you’re absent from the lineup           again

Butch Queen             where are those 

billowing silk shirts now 

mustard / florid / collared

would the trees that you’ve become

make song      if so swayed


what would it take?


& who among us here, 

knowing what scuttles

under a loved one’s skin, haven’t wished

to distribute some of what’s left of our dawns


take this         it is worth more when yours

(too much depends upon

your red boot legs

glazed with glitter)

to have lost is to have failed

in lending the unlendable

        but still we weep


tonight         young mouths howl

can you hear us

from that concrete place just over the wall?

can you rebuild your knees

strong & wide enough to 

bring us over, brew mint tea

you won’t believe what we know to be

cresting this ocean 

will you witness how

humbled by this flamingo sky

while there is yet fluid in the

creaking things that carry us

this great gig          statics         onwards

while we who are left

become each other’s compasses

          you foresaw this






Emma Rose Smith is a writer, educator, and arts organiser living on Gadigal-Wangal land. She is interested in accountability, queerness, mental health, and the politics of representation. Her projects include Unspoken Words Storytelling and Word in Hand. She moonlights as a shrinky dink aficionado and identifies as a softie.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.