All the girls who used to read Dolly have trauma now

1. When you’re trapped in a large crowd, you’re most akin to:

a) a cockroach under glass, releasing its wings and whirring
b) the flapping of a pool filter open and close, open and close
c) a small box of frantic dogs
d) a clown


2. If your life was a scene from a movie, it would be:

a) when Ryan Gosling releases his fingers, one by one, from the bars of the ferris
b) some gratuitous upskirt shot
c) the one where the girl gets dragged by her hair
d) when Sigourney Weaver saves the cat but none of the humans


3. Which is your favourite small violence?

a) a narrative no longer in your control
b) gutters overspilling with leaves
c) a de-tonguing
d) a cul-de-sac


4. When you dream, you dream of:

a) shining fat wasps emerging from each pore of your back
b) being stranded on a distant moon with too many suitcases
c) writing a poem so good it makes everyone apologise
d) riding a Skyrim dragon


5. Someone asks you why you haven’t seen Promising Young Woman yet. You lie:

a) I’m waiting for it to come out on VHS
b) I only watch movies directed by men
c) every time I go to the movies, the encroaching blackness threatens to take me
somewhere I’d rather not tread
d) I have an irrational fear of Carrie Mulligan


6. You’re spending your evening:

a) reading the LinkedIn profiles of your high school classmates
b) flying off the handle
c) imagining a life where none of this can touch you
d) picking at a hangnail


7. What your dad doesn’t understand is:

a) the sensation of always containing a funeral
b) how eels travel from rivers to oceans
c) that something is roosting in your skull and it isn’t pigeons
d) that sometimes pain never becomes a blessing


8. The thought of what gives you a panic attack?

a) pavement and
b) streetlights and
c) fence posts and
d) pantry moth larva


9. What are you looking forward to?

a) plunging your face into the wet soil at the base of an old tree
b) finally ridding your mailbox of snails
c) streets unburdened by memory
d) rewatching Scooby Doo! Where are You? for the first time since


10. If you could go back in time, would you?

a) yes
b) yes
c) yes
d) this question is too luxurious


Mostly A:

you’re trapped in a gif of the life-cycle of a frog: now you’re a tadpole, now you’re a frog, now
you’re a tadpole again.

a life summarised in a handful of frames: you grow, you rot, you grow. will anything change this
time around? probably not.


Mostly B:

you’re constantly keeping yourself in check, worried you might wake to find yourself back in the
nightmare of doing the laundry for a fuck-boy with no thank you.

don’t worry, hun! it isn’t in your cards to be his sexy-mommy a second time!


Mostly C:

your body is a maze. your body is a b-grade horror movie. the soundtrack won’t stop amping up
at seemingly innocuous moments. who can you trust? not your senses, that’s for sure. oh,
sweetheart, your body is out of your hands.


Mostly D:

all you can do is laugh when everything is this royally fucked. after all, your emails are hanging
over you like ghosts and you’ve already hate-binged Glee. pathos to bathos, time to take a bath
and laugh in the face of your own grief.

Lily Holloway (they/her) was raised on deep fried mushrooms in South New Brighton, Ōtautahi. Their first chapbook a child in that alcove was published in 2021 as a part of Auckland University Press' AUP New Poets 8 (alongside the wonderful Tru Paraha and Modi Deng). Their other work can be found in places such as Cordite, Peach Mag, Landfall, Poetry New Zealand Yearbook, Starling, Out Here: An Anthology of Takatāpui and LGBTQIA+ New Zealand Writers, and various other nooks and crannies. They are on the board of the Samesame But Different queer literary festival and are a founding editor of eel mag. Lily wishes they had a metal detector and wants you to know that Missy Elliott once replied to their tweet.

Holloway comments: 'I have very intense and vivid dreams, some of which are horrendous and trauma-related, all of which contain a high level of weirdness. This poem started off as an assortment of images from dreams recorded in my notes app: "shining fat wasps emerging from each pore of your back," a girl getting dragged by her hair, riding a Skyrim dragon to a distant planet, among others. I have a lot of anxiety around falling asleep because I can't control what I dream about (I'm writing this poem note at 4 a.m. in the morning on such a night). I have friends that have similar issues around sleep so that got me to thinking about the things we share with one another, whether that be growing up reading Dolly, Creme, and Girlfriend, or other things more private and less joyful. Re-reading this poem makes me sad because it invites me to compare myself to the Lily who was so eager to do the Dolly quiz and who was even more eager to grow up. Bummer!'

​Poem source details >


Lily Holloway's website

Auckland University Press author page

eel mag

Twitter: @milfs4minecraft

Photographer credit: Angela Zhang