Bill Hollands

Queen for a Day

I’m nobody’s idea of butch,
not especially swishy either –
middle-of-the-road gay, I guess
you could say. But this one day –
I’m twenty, maybe twenty-one,
a bit forlorn with my cascade of hair –
I’m in a pub in England. We probably
should be studying, but the pints
are flowing, the afternoon sun
turns dust to glitter and I begin
to camp it up. Maybe my hands
flutter, my voice lifts, I call the guys
she or Mary – I don’t recall exactly
but you know the drill. Old school.
This one girl, friend of a friend,
she sizes me up quick, says
You know, it suits you. Very British,
right? It suits you. I’m already out –
that isn’t it. It’s something
deeper. Or shallower. As if
who I was, who I am, is just
a suit from Men’s Wearhouse
or Nordstrom Rack. Or maybe
that store my mother used to go to –
what was it? Not Ann Taylor…
Talbots, that’s it. Talbots. Good lord.

Bill Hollands’ work has appeared in such journals as RattleDIAGRAM, North American Review, The American Journal of Poetry, No Contact,and Wildness. He was recently named a finalist for New Ohio Review’s NORward Prize and Smartish Pace’s Erskine J. Poetry Prize. He lives in Seattle with his husband and their son.