This is the last of our blog posts featuring poets who made it to our 2019 shortlist and we’re delighted to finish with two poems by Jinny Fisher. Jinny has been published in print and online, including by The Journal, Under the Radar, Prole, The Interpreter’s House, New Walk, Lighthouse, The Poetry Shed, Ink Sweat & Tears, Amaryllis and Riggwelter. Poems have also been anthologised, including in Please Hear What I’m Not Saying (2017). In competitions, she has been commended in Battered Moons 2014 and Fire River Poets 2015, highly commended in York Mix 2016, runner-up in The Interpreter’s House (Open House Competition) 2016 and commended in Tongues and Grooves Prose Poetry Competition 2017.
She won’t be leaving us for a day or two yet.
The nurse scribbles on Flora’s chart
nods at us, moves on.
Emily, Joe and I put aside our Scrabble game,
kiss Flora’s waxy cheek, and trail out
towards Hampstead Ponds.
We shake the odour of boiled cabbage
from the folds of our clothes, buy
cheese and pickle rolls at the Euphorium Bakery.
We tramp the leaf carpet down the avenue
of plane trees, to spread across a bench—
breathe, breathe and breathe again.
Emily tells how, after the bad-news call,
she’d pierced her ears and bought a red dress.
We chew and muse about our Christmas plans.
There’s silence, blinking as the dog-walkers,
hand-holders, and kids on bikes pass us by.
We crumple our paper bags and wander back—
up the concrete steps from Pond Street,
past the smokers with their drip-stands,
round the revolving door, into the lift.
Eleventh floor, East Ward. Our shoes squeak
on the polished floor, but as I open the door
to Flora’s room, she doesn’t move.
Joe takes the armchair next to Flora’s head.
Emily and I perch on moulded plastic.
The Scrabble board tilts on my lap.
The nurse comes back, to feel her patient’s pulse.
I place my letters and turn to count the seconds
between Flora’s breaths.
Flora stretches one arm high above her head—
holds it still and long, reaching up, up.
It’s what they do— we don’t know why.
Highly Commended in York Mix competition 2016
They had always dressed the tree together—
surrounded by gold-sprayed pine cones
and evergreen wreaths.
Each year, a new ornament, marking
a shared city break or afternoon stroll
around a craft fair.
Tonight, she uncurls her fist, sloughs off
her ring, considers the imprint
She swings the ring a moment from her finger-tip,
slides it over a drooping branch.
The fairy, impaled on the tree’s top stem,
stares paint-eyed across the room.
Published in Ink, Sweat and Tears, December 2015