Photo of a white flowered tree pulled out of the soil to expose roots

‘When I die’ by Fable Goldsmith

Content warning: death, queer erasure and silencing.

About the artist

Fable Goldsmith is a performance poet who resides in Perth Western Australia. Since the creation of their very first poem in May 2017, Fable has been awarded a number of opportunities including features at Perth Poetry Festival, Spoken Word Perth and Perth Fringe Festival. After winning the State Final, Fable recently performed to a sell-out crowd at the Sydney Opera House, placing 3rd in Australia for the 2018 Australian Poetry Slam. As a gender diverse, queer mother of 3 children with disabilities, Fable’s work is often confronting but offers to expose the fragility and strength that exists within adversity, in an attempt to use poetry as a platform for awareness, acceptance and change.


When I die

I’m not afraid of dying,
My greatest fear
Is to be buried,
Under a name I do not recognise,
Held under a blanket
Of stone carved sentiments,
That speak of
Someone else’s life.

I’m not afraid of dying,
But please
Don’t put me in a box
When I’ve spent a lifetime,
Trying to get out
Of this closet.
Four walls are so familiar,
But they offer me no comfort,
Are more container
Than vessel
More prison
Than home,
So just burn me.
Burn me in a Tshirt that says,
‘Buy art not followers.’
Let fire kiss
My unshaven legs,
And secondhand jeans.
This body
Was never mine,
Was just a suit
Tailored for someone else,
So let me go.

Mix my ashes with glitter,
And throw me at the wind,
So I can make rainbows in the sunlight.

When I die,
Don’t paint a pretty picture of me.
Make it messy,
Make it raw,
Bathe your brush in my blood,
And let each stroke,
Speak at volumes,
That spreads the sound
Like fire.
Let it burn everything
You imagine I should be.
Let it turn,
To dust, in your mouth.

When I die,
Leave your rose coloured glasses
At the door.
Find the tongue
You bit off,

When I die,
Do not say my name gently,
From that podium.
And do not
Pencil out
Your version.
Of my story.
My life was not a draft
To be rewritten

When I die,
Don’t tell my children I was perfect.
Tell them I fucked up.
Tell them,
I made mistakes,
Tell them,
I made this whole place
But that I wore my pride
Like armour.
That my words,
Were a weapon.
My voice,
A trigger for change.
Tell them,
Silence, isn’t easy
Tell them
Self preservation isn’t safety,
If you forget
Who you are.

When I die,
Tell them I knew who I was.
Tell them,
It scared you.
I’m not afraid of dying,
I’m just afraid
You’ll bury the truth
With me.


Photo by David Brooke Martin on Unsplash

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