Snow Drops, by Allison Armstrong

‘Snow Drops’ retells ‘The Snow Queen’ through the lens of butch-femme relationships . . .

. . . and femme invisibility.  While the gender-ambiguous nature of Kay’s name gives the story easy potential to be retold as a dyke romance, it’s the wealth and power aspects of the piece – the lawless bandit princess; the difference between Gerda’s tenement and the Queen’s palace – that make it fit the working-class history of butch-femme culture so well.  It speaks ‘Imbolc’ to me because of spring’s connection to hope and returning life but, equally, because of Gerda’s Maidenhood – her personal coming-of-age and her connection with all things flowering.

Snow Drops

One look into     that unforgiving mirror

Miz Frost’s Park Avenue life and

Kay feels shabby in her       frayed jeans

thrift-store t-shirts

     studded rainbow belt

So easy to wrap the young stud ‘round her finger

Easier still to wrap her in white fur, white noise, white satin sheets

til she forgets     summer sangria

swiss chard and

roses blooming on a Forest Hills balcony

til she is all white ties and tails

all world-weary enuie and good white wine

no spark of her old self to be called home

Still Gerda girds her loins

knowing she can take Kay back

or leave her

in that pristine winter palace

Knowing that there’s more at stake

than one long-healed heart

Mortal girl wrapped in the mantle of Spring

her threadbare parka

overflows with    crocuses


saskatoon blossoms

flowers that survive the frost

no shrinking violet herself

not anymore

not after the bathhouse

not after the squat

the gutterpunk princess

who could throw a stiletto

and a punch

the aging auntie in the rent-controlled apartment

tending her tropical blossoms

with manicured nails

they taught her a thing or two about femme fire

Now she walks with her  head high

hips swinging

Now she sashays up the winter-bound drive

snow melting under her

daisy-print boots

lips as red as summer

sangria and roses

Allison Armstrong

is a polyamourous queer femme kitchen-witch and animist.  She lives with her wife in Ottawa, Canada, where she writes erotica, runs the Voices of Venus women’s poetry showcase, and gardens whenever possible.  Her work has appeared in Bywords Quarterly, Venus in Scorpio, and The Floating Bridge Review.

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