‘Hinnerup’ and other poems by Jess Mc Kinney


It Began as most things do                       moist things do
everything everything       berry stained mouth
beer stickied floor & blood bloom undies
you ‘don’t mind’          and sure
                          I could probably get into you 
                          I only ever feel the bubbles on impact
                          during I’m somewhere else
                   the sun was a hot coal in the sky 
 seeing another one like you      he came just before   I                 
      decided a bit too late that I didn’t want what he
 asphyxiated thinking about sourcing justifications for those who 
insist            swear 
                  that my saliva isn’t a contagion
                  for those who are unknowing

  because kissing me will give you cancer 
then you’ll never be the invisible thing you imagined running 
alongside the     car          
and In Dreams     my hair falls in chunks to a cheering audience
        I grow old & genderless for money
nightly I wake feverish   trapped in the tight fist of your affection 
   drowning between cool bathroom tiles & Christmas cake sponge

but I won’t keep us downstairs    knitting and gritting at the base
          begrudging closed doors & far off hearing
          while I’m far off reliving tepid buoy lights
           & what you wanted me to hear
so I turn my mouth into a repurposed palette for the 
new             you
 walking the length of it with sparse sentiments blowing 
	you           but retaining no heat

   because unfortunately only others can administer the calming
            needed for the curdled bulb of my brain
      between me + heaven: 	    a place where I can smoke
so I left you holding the cuff of your jumper 	   waiting 

                   & bracing for the blow

AMY: spelled the right way

Frisbeeing your father’s slicked records into the ocean foam
not ‘boomeranging’ as you had once said
not coming back, not this time
but stuck in flux and spinning
reflective disks, CDs scratched and hanging
in the treehouse from which you will fall next year
on a wet November night when you weren’t old enough
trying to smoke a cigarette you stole
that’s why you fell, they said you weren’t old enough

Half our friendship was spent visiting each other in hospital
sparkling butterfly clips offered up on plastic sheets
conniving, bartering for my silence
I’m not supposed to tell anyone it happens
but it was hard to be alone after each cosmic collision
between tempered concussions and snapped clavicles
between fighting parents and shared rooms
so we continue, hushed and daring together, I pinky promise

Primary school passes, as it does, in a flurry
a few fearsome sparks and over, all of a sudden
as if all our memories already belonged to someone else
as if we didn’t need the fumbling trouble to become wisened
hardened, our most emblazoned fights mellowed
our passions come cartoonish like cheap plastic cheese slices
I can’t forget how you’d ring landlines all around town
to find me, 8pm and desperate before bed, to apologize

And when the time came to finally confront you
we were 16 and alone in the middle of a field at night
I’d crawled away from the boyfriend I got to match yours
from the tsunamis of cider, from the gendered expectation
but it was impossible still to make you understand
probably between my being drunk and crawling
so you say it never happened as you help me up
and then I just can’t stand you


turning vodka into wine

*hushed* it’s not just
not just the tropic tonic_____ now
it‘s heavier glassier receptacles
that are emptied quicker

quickly quenching the wild fire
the candle burning at both ends
wilting there now_____by the oven
before bare feet & childish eyes

sonic mother, please provide the cover
and resuscitate my ignorance
hand over cries, humming under covers
could I have been anything_____but a lover?

steady the line between us_____ just & unjust
a lot thinner when you’re stumbling
I’d do anything to be older
old enough to help you up



when well-meaning people align with me
align their lives with mine
it seems that they quit trying to become
or achieve themselves for a time
in a dastardly sense which can only descend
descend to ashes on communion
quickly quenching my reckless romance
romancing which necessitates an end
and so I approach you with an openness
forward an eager and honest grasp
but with well-meaning hands instead I rouse
rouse the ashes already put to bed
tidied away when setting aside the past
covertly hushing the used and the dead
so my digits recoil with the disenchanted
dragging back reverberated perspectives
the intoxicating promise of new loves
desires staining my plain epidermis
with electric potential that will not adhere
when I explain that I’m trying to be good
I don’t want to be problematic at all
honestly not at all and I never did
but that’s the woe of commitment and honesty
a small drop of milk to offset the acidity
I just wanted to love and be loved once and truly
not violently over and over as it has been
a great many loves each more fantastic than the last
the salubrious possibilities adjacent my reaching
my salivating hands reaching towards you
pulling you into the room and into my life
promising you a great many things
leaning beyond you to shield my eyes
but yearning to stay put please
hands reaching to never stop holding yours
I don’t want to disappoint another one
I will not disappoint you anymore



sewing after so long
i wonder if there exists a song
a glass of water warmed in the sun
for each age she’s ever been
all the taps here run scalding
following the dregs of wine
flowing from hot water factories
tell me about her lover
stagnant on the periphery
who lived three towns away
making it harder to soak
she would travel hours to him
the wilting orchids
every other weekend
softening on the windowsill
found sanctuary with his family
reaching up into the day
young and in love
delicate and deliberate
i’d like to know how she felt
like grandmother’s thin fingers
on the birthday that I learned to hate
shaking but capable
the night i faked to get away


Jess Mc Kinney is a queer feminist poet, essayist and English Studies graduate of UCD. Originally from Inishowen, Co. Donegal, she is now living and working in Dublin city, Ireland. Her writing is informed by themes such as sexuality, memory, nature, relationships, gender, mental health and independence. Often visually inspired, she seeks to marry pictorial elements alongside written word. Her work has been previously published in A New Ulster, Impossible Archetype, HeadStuff, In Place, Hunt & Gather, Three fates, and several other local zines.

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