two queers meet in a café

by Sylvan Spring & Lily Holloway

two queers meet in a café

Part One: Lily asks Sylvan

If you were a body of water, what would you be? 

i think of rivers bounded by forget-me-nots / a waterfall i once collected cress next to
feeling all the negative ions its stumbling footfalls give off 
break against the surface of my skin and diffuse into me / i think of Nature with a capital N
how i seek to view it pretty and apart from me
but all oceans connect / and in other bodies water churns up and evaporates off
ushered by clouds to some ancient elsewhere / what even is a body
but an attempt to hold together things that want to roam
it’s all more porous than we have a right to know / choosing any body of water
means i am not my own sovereign / but alive in the dispersal of all things
i am already a body of water
maybe i become suspended in a lunchbox / maybe i’m etched on every molecule that ever was
maybe there are no ancestors / and no descendants
only this perpetual spilling forth
the fallacy of time / stretches out before us like a naughty cat that knows it’s already forgiven
and space is only noise / that you can see
the waimapihi stream has some pretty buzzy glow worms though

What do you remember?

i remember sitting at the bus stop opposite that gay bar
that closed before i was old enough to go
after our babysitter had taken my brother and i 
to whichever narnia movie was on at the time
she was one of those cool older girls who seemed of a higher species
the bar was called pound and its tagline was ‘the straight route is often boring’
my babysitter congratulated me on understanding the double entendre 
at the age of 11
i remember being terrified of my own pubes
one time i tried to straighten them 
and my vulva looked like steve aoki
i remember all my old netball teams and our crown shyness off-court
but also the bounce of coalescing around a common joy without needing to speak
i remember being told of my great-grandmother
the one with the big dyke energy and the signet ring i wear
who saved 6 drowning girls from st jo’s and bundled them into her truck
i wonder whether she’d be prouder of my national mp cousin or me
i remember the many days spent immobile 
in a collapsing ponsonby flat
canyoning through the cracks in my sadnesses
i remember blemishes on the backs of my legs when i was 5
my mum taking me to a witchy woman’s house
leaving me there for hours to bathe in glittery water until it got cold
the spots never came back
these odd moments keep bursting through the membrane of memory
i don’t know how to siphon my life into art anymore
but at worst, now you know that i’m the kind of person 
who has straightened their pubes at least once

What do you want to be?

i want to be a himbo
i want to unknow

part two: sylvan asks lily

which song is objectively the worst?

➜ a narrative no longer in your control
➜ the rushing of leaves down a cul-de-sac gutter
➜ a scheduling error
➜ you’ve left crumbs on my bedding again
➜ killing the class goldfish
➜ when the tide is, once again, at your doorstep
➜ roasting chestnuts with someone you will come to despise
➜ when the clogged drains overflow
➜ ruining your makeup
➜ duty free Toblerone
➜ a discontinued Flash game
➜ wishing you were anywhere else
➜ tomato sauce on a white shirt
➜ when the water pours into your shoes
➜ a broken sieve
➜ showering in silence

what is boring to you?

assemblies & sausage rolls & deck chairs & ibuprofen &
tote bags & traffic wardens &
sitcoms & ACC & landlords & easy-peel mandarins & Bitcoin &  Coronation Street &
inevitable doom &

what do you want to be?

I want to be a writing desk
I want to persist

The Process

The Write Together collaboration happened at the perfect moment, while Sylvan was visiting Tāmaki Makaurau. We met for a coffee at Olaf’s and it became obvious that we had a lot in common. We talked about our writing practice, what we like to write and the importance of identity. The piece we have written is a reflection of how Sylvan and I set about getting to know each other within a short space of time, as queer people and as poets. What I enjoyed about writing our piece was seeing how our styles differed but remained in communication within the question/answer format. I like thinking about how putting our voices in close proximity in this way changes the reading of the poem as a whole.

About the Authors

Sylvan Spring

Sylvan is a writer, DJ and public servant living in Te Whanganui-ā-Tara. They are currently completing their MA at the IIML, Victoria University. You can find them on Instagram at:

Lily Holloway

Lily Holloway (she/they) has been published in Cordite Poetry Review, Starling, Scum, The Pantograph Punch, Landfall and other various nooks and crannies (see a full list at  She is an executive editor of Interesting Journal and has a chapbook in AUP New Poets 8. Lily is based in Tāmaki Makaurau, is a hopeless romantic and probably wants to be your penpal! You can follow her on Twitter @milfs4minecraft