Romy Listo is third-generation Australian, and was born and raised in Meanjin/Brisbane. In other lives, she works to promote women’s health and has a PhD in gender studies and environmental sociology. She now lives in Canberra. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter (@romylisto).


These days, I wear your
wide eye of burgundy
on my left pointer protecting
sour cherry agate tethering
me to black forest:
the tart taste, stuck to the teeth
with unspeakable histories
bilingual in tongues of love and shame.

When under the same skies
stars fell alight with your language from
the constellation of memory,
dullened by the drop to earth:
fragmented fairytales with
morals so monstrous
they bit you open from the inside.
Did it matter
or less?

Since you were aboard the SS Over Ocean
and picked the best dresses with
light hand, apples from the orchard
gathered stories told in black and white
thin enough to be slid under the bed
to animate dreams and hard futures
with a land that didn’t exist
after you left it,
a costume to drink to
in too-warm Octobers
cheers to you, mate.

© Romy Listo, 2023